Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A new scorpion: Pseudouroctonus maidu

Everybody knows these eight-legged predatory arthropods and almost everybody is also afraid of them as legend has it that their sting is highly toxic and life threatening. In fact there are about 1750 described scorpion species but only about 25 of these species are known to have venom capable of killing a human being. Many scorpion stings are painful but harmless and it is not that scorpions actively pursue animals to sting them.

California is known for its high biological diversity. The state encompasses a wide variety of habitats, from temperate coastal scrub and cool redwood forests to high-elevation conifer forests and grasslands that are home to an equally diverse variety of plants and animals. That is also true for scorpions and it is no surprise that a new species has been reported from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northeastern California. It was named after the Maidu people of northern California, in whose historic lands the species occurs.

For the experts: A new species of vaejovid scorpion from northern California, Pseudouroctonus maidu sp. n., is named and described. This new species appears to be most similar to Pseudouroctonus iviei (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972) and Pseudouroctonus glimmei (Hjelle, 1972).

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