A review of the taxonomy of the large buthid genus Buthus

The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 is one of the largest genera in the family Buthidae with species in 17 countries in Western Europe, North-, Central-, and Eastern Africa and the Middle East. The taxonomy of this complex genus has been confusing, but in the last 20 years there have been many studies and the number of species in the genus has increased 10-fold. Several of the African species have medical significance.

Pedro Sousa and co-workers have now published a review of the taxonomy of Buthus and present an overview of the history of Buthus taxonomy, an updated species list and distribution of the genus. Two taxa are raised to species status (from subspecies status):

Buthus nigrovesiculosus Hirst, 1925

Buthus parroti Vachon, 1949

In addition, Buthus barbouri Werner, 1932 is transferred to the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828:

Androctonus barbouri (Werner, 1932),

Check abstract or the article for other taxonomical updates.

If you are interested in the genus Buthus, this is the article to read.

Since the publication of the ground-breaking “Catalogue of the scorpions of the world (1758–1998)” (Fet et al. 2000) the number of species in the scorpion genus Buthus Leach, 1815 has increased 10-fold, and this genus is now the fourth largest within the Buthidae, with 52 valid named species. Here we revise and update the available information regarding Buthus. A new combination is proposed: Buthus halius (C. L. Koch, 1839), comb. n. from Portugal and Spain. B. halius is removed from junior synonymy with Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789), and proposed as a senior synonym of B. ibericus Lourenço & Vachon, 2004, syn. n. Moreover, following I.C.Z.N. article 23.9.2 we propose to maintain as valid B. ibericus (nomen protectum) and to consider the disued B. halius as a nomen oblitum. Buthus europaeus tridentatus Franganillo, 1918 is proposed as a junior synonym of B. occitanus (Amoreux, 1789), syn. n. Buthus sabulicola Touloun, 2012 is proposed as a junior synonym of Buthus bonito Lourenço & Geniez, 2005, syn. n. Buthus occitanus tunetanus neeli Gysin, 1969 is proposed as an informal senior synonym of Buthus tassili Lourenço, 2002, informal syn. n. Two taxa are rised to species rank, Buthus nigrovesiculosus Hirst, 1925, stat. n. and Buthus parroti Vachon, 1949, stat. n.. We further confirm the restricted distribution of B. occitanus that is confined to southeastern France and northwestern Iberian Peninsula and does not occur in North Africa. Additionally, Androctonus barbouri (Werner, 1932), comb. n. from the Agadir region of Morocco, is hereby transferred to the genus Androctonus. We summarize and provide a critical appraisal of the diagnostic characters currently in use for the genus. The catalogue section considers the names for species, subspecies and varieties that have been used for Buthus scorpions. Information about types, including collection numbers and localities are included when available. Finally, an annotated listing of synonymies and an updated bibliography are given.

Sousa P, Arnedo MA, Harris DJ. Updated catalogue and taxonomic notes on the Old-World scorpion genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). ZooKeys. 2017(686):15-84. [Open Access]

Thanks to Pedro Sousa for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae