Friday 23 December 2022

Hottentotta pooyani: A new species of Scorpion from Khuzestan Province, Iran.

Iran has a large and diverse Scorpion fauna, influenced by its position at the crossroads of Anatolia, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia. The genus Hottentotta is thought to be of African origin, but has spread to the Middle East, Anatolia, and South Asia. Of the 68 species of Scorpions recorded from Iran, ten belong to the genus Hottentotta, including eight of the 41 species entirely endemic to the country.

In a paper published in the Bulletin of the Iraq Natural History Museum on 20 December 2022, Mohammed Moradi of the Department of Biology at the University of Zanjan, Ersan Aydın Yağmur of the Alaşehir Vocational School at Manisa Celal Bayar University, and Abolfazl Akbari of the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, describe a new species of Hottentotta from Khuzestan Province, Iran.

The new species is named Hottentotta pooyani, in honour of Pooyan Moradi, the son of Mohammed Moradi. It is described from two female specimens, both collected in Khuzestan Province; the males are unknown.

Hottentotta pooyani, female holotype; (A) Dorsal view, (B) Ventral view. Scale bar is 10 mm. Moradi et al. (2022).

Hottentotta pooyani is a medium sized Scorpion, with the two known specimens measuring 61.43 and 64.71 mm in length; this is fairly typical for members of the genus Hottentotta, but smaller than most Iranian members of the group. It is pale yellow in colour, with darker yellow markings around the eyes, and has a smooth carapace with sparse hairs. The pedipalps (pincers) are long and slender,

Hottentotta pooyani appears to be more similar, and therefore is probably more closely related to members of the genus found in Arabia than to those of the Iranian interior, something observed in several other Scorpions found in Khuzestan Province. Moradi et al. suggest that this endemism may be shared with the neighbouring Basra Province in Iraq, with the two provinces being isolated from the rest of their countries by climatic differences and the broad lower reaches of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.

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