Thursday, April 6, 2017

[Arachnida • 2017] Mauryius cuyanus • A New Genus and Species of Scorpion (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae) from the Argentinean Precordillera

Mauryius cuyanus 
Ojanguren-Affilastro &  Mattoni, 2017

Mauryius n.gen., a new bothriurid scorpion genus from the Argentinean Precordillera, is described, and its phylogenetic position is discussed based on a phylogenetic analysis of morphological data. Mauryius n.gen. is the first scorpion genus endemic to the Argentinean Precordillera. It is most closely related to Pachakutej Ochoa, 2004 from the inter-Andean valleys of Peru and to Rumikiru Ojanguren-Affilastro, Mattoni, Ochoa & Prendini, 2012 from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Mauryius cuyanus n.sp., the only known species of the genus, is described. Biogeographical implications of Mauryius relationships are discussed. 

Key words: Andes, Argentinean Precordillera, Bothriuridae, Scorpiones, new genus

 Habitus in life of Mauryius cuyanus n.gen. et n.sp., male 


Family Bothriuridae Simon, 1880 

Mauryius n.gen.  

Type species. Mauryius cuyanus n.sp.

 Etymology. The name of this genus is masculine in gender and derives from the surname of the Argentinean arachnologist Dr. Emilio Maury (1940–1998), who was the director of the MACN arachnology laboratory up to his death in 1998, and who has been the most important researcher in scorpion systematics from Argentina. 

Mauryius cuyanus n.sp.

Etymology. The specific epithet “cuyanus” is a noun in apposition, referring to the Argentinean area denominated “Cuyo” which includes three central Argentinean provinces: Mendoza, San Luis, and San Juan (to which M. cuyanus is endemic). 

Fig. 1. A: Habitat of Mauryius cuyanus n.gen. et n.sp. in Sierra del Tontal, San Juan Province, Argentina.
B: Habitus in life of Mauryius cuyanus n.gen. et n.sp., male. 

Distribution and habitat. Mauryius cuyanus n.sp. has been collected only at “El Tontal” mountain chain, in San Juan Province (Fig. 2), Argentina. This is a mountain range belonging to the Argentinean Precordillera. This species has been collected at intermediate altitudes between 2500 and 3000 m asl, in an area that could be assigned to the Prepuna vegetational formation, or to an ecotone between Monte and Prepuna vegetational formations. This species does not reach the upper level of the mountain (above 3000 m asl) which belongs to a clear Altoandina vegetational formation. Mauryius cuyanus is a litophilous species, which seems to prefer rocky reliefs (Fig. 1A). Most of the active specimens, captured at night under UV light, were collected on vegetationless scree slopes, comprising piles of stones accumulated below steep cliff faces. Most usually, specimens were hiding under these stones with little or no parts of the body exposed. Some specimens, however, were found walking over stones. Specimens collected during the day were always found under stones, and we did not detect any kind of burrow in the soil under these rocks. This microhabitat preference is quite uncommon in Bothriuridae and is shared only with the close genus Rumikiru (Ojanguren-Affilastro et al. 2012), from rocky reliefs in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Most species of Bothriuridae are fossorial, digging their burrows on exposed soils, or occasionally, under rocks. Mauryius cuyanus occurs in sympatry with Bothriurus olaen Acosta, 1997, Brachistosternus montanus Roig Alsina, 1977, and Orobothriurus alticola (Pocock, 1899). However, none of these species actually occurs in exactly the same microhabitat occupied by Mauryius.

Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro and Camilo Mattoni. 2017. Mauryius n. gen. (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae), A New Neotropical Scorpion Genus.   
Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny. 75(1); 125–139

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