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Sometimes you get surprise by remarkable scorpions findings and this time it is actually in Europe. Gioele Torpea and Carlo Onnis recently published an article describing the finding of a new genus and species in a cave system in Sardinia (Italy). I'm thrilled that there are still hidden scorpion gems like this around!
Sardoscorpius Tropea & Onnis, 2020 (new genus)
Sardoscorpius troglophilus Tropea & Onnis, 2020 (new species)
As the name implies, the new species has been only collected inside two natural caves. Interestingly, the new scorpion lacks marked adaptations to the life in caves like missing eyes, reduced pigmentation etc. Sardoscorpius has not been found outside the cave system and seems to prefer a troglobitc life style despite missing traditional cave dwelling characteristics.
The new species looks very much like the troglobitic Belisarius Simon, 1879 found in and outside caves in the Pyrenees, in Spain and France, except for having well developed eyes. And this species is actually Sardoscorpius' closest relative. Belisarius has so far been placed in the family Troglotayosicidae together with the genus Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981, but the taxonomic position of these genera are unclear. Until further investigations, Tropea & Onnis have chosen to elevate Belisariidae Lourenco, 1998 to family status and include Belisarius and Sardoscorpius in this family.
A remarkable discovery in the Italian scorpion fauna is herein presented with the description of a new scorpion genus and species from Sardinia, Sardoscorpius troglophilus gen. n. et sp. n., known only from natural caves. It is related to the Pyrenean relict endogean genus Belisarius Simon, 1879, and placed in the family Belisariidae Lourenço, 1998 stat. n., which is here elevated to family status. With this description, a member of Belisariidae stat. n. is registered for the first time in Italy. At the moment, the Italian fauna of scorpions includes three families (Belisariidae stat. n., Buthidae and Euscorpiidae), five genera (Buthus, Alpiscorpius, Euscorpius, Tetratrichobothrius and Sardoscorpius gen. n.) and 23 species. The new taxon is the first and only endemic scorpion genus found in Italy.
Tropea G, Onnis C. A remarkable discovery of a new scorpion genus and species from Sardinia (Scorpiones: Chactoidea: Belisariidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2020;VI(XXVI):3-25.
Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me this very interesting article!