Tuesday, June 5, 2018

[Arachnida • 2018] Vaejovis islaserrano • A New Sky Island Species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae) from Sonora, Mexico

Vaejovis islaserrano
 Barrales-Alcalá, Francke, Van Devender & Contreras-Félix, 2018

Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n. is described from the Sierras Elenita and La Mariquita, Municipio de Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. This species belongs to the “vorhiesi” group of the genus Vaejovis and inhabits pine-oak forests in northern Mexico. This species is compared to its most similar species. This new species presents an interesting morphological difference from the rest of the species in the species-group: the absence of a subaculear tubercle or spine.

Keywords: Diversity, pine-oak forests, scorpions, Speciation

Figure 1. Habitus of Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n.
a, b Habitus of the Holotype male;   c, d Paratype female

a, c dorsal view b, d ventral view. Scale bars: 5 mm.

  Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n.a Life female dorsal habitus

Family Vaejovidae Thorell, 1879
Genus Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836

Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n. 

Etymology: The specific epithet is regarding the distribution of the species in the highlands of the Sonoran desert and it is composed by the words in Spanish “isla” in reference of island and “sierra” as in mountain range, being the adjective “serrano” and together they compose the name islaserrano, which is used as a noun in apposition.

Diagnosis: Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n. belongs to the “vorhiesi” group due to the presence of the following characters: the presence of a sclerotized mating plug in the spermatophore; trichobothria ib – it on the base of the fixed finger of the pedipalp chela; the absence of setae on the prolateral and retrolateral sides on the first pair of legs. This is a relatively small scorpion, with adult total length ranging from 18 mm to 24 mm (Table 1). Sternite V with a noticeable whitish oval spot on the posterior fifth, also present on sternite VII. Vesicle of the telson, elongated more than twice longer than wide (L/W: 2.44), and thin, almost as wide as deep (W/D: 1.12). LAS present on both sides of the aculeus. Pedipalp chela fingers dentate margins straight, without scalloping.


Figure 9. A Life female dorsal habitus in sight b type locality of Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n., showing the mixed pine-oak vegetation where it lives.

Distribution: This species is known from a few localities in the higher elevations of the Sierra La Mariquita and Sierra La Elenita in Sonora, Mexico at 1911–2422 m. This currently represents the southwestern-most record for the “vorhiesi” group of the genus Vaejovis (Fig. 8).

 Natural history: (Fig. 9). The specimens of V. islaserrano sp. n., were collected in August 2013 and September 2016. This species inhabits rocky slopes in pine-oak forest. (Fig. 9b). It was observed active on a cold rainy night, foraging in pine needle litter and living sympatric with Paravaejovis spinigerus (Wood, 1863), which inhabits open, rocky outcrops in the same areas.

 Diego A. Barrales-Alcalá, Oscar F. Francke, Tom R. Van Devender and Gerardo A. Contreras-Félix. 2018.  A New Sky Island Species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 from Sonora, Mexico (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). ZooKeys. 760: 37-53.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.760.22714

Resumen: Se describe Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n. de las Sierras Elenita y La Mariquita, en el Municipio de Cananea, Sonora, México. Esta especie pertenece al grupo “vorhiesi” dentro del género Vaejovis y que habita en los bosques de pino y encino del norte de México. Se le compara con las especies más similares morfológicamente. Esta nueva especie presenta una característica morfológica interesante para las especies del grupo: la ausencia de un tubérculo o espina subaculear.

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