SCORPIONS OF CYPRUS



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I went to Cyprus in june 2000. Finding scorpions on Cyprus
turned out to be very difficult. I consulted several papers
(Kritscher1993, Kinzelbach 1975, Crucitti 1993, Gantenbein
et al., 2000), but only got two locations, both in the occupied
northern part of Cyprus. Thanks to my friends on the scorpion
mailing list, I got some tips which turned out to be very fruitful.
A trip to the Trodoos area resulted in 9 scorpions. They were
all found on the island's highest moutain (Mt. Olympos) at 1900 m
(the area have snow in the winter). I did not find scorpions on other
(and lower) sites on the island. It is possible that they are found other
places, but are hiding in deeper burrows due to the heat.
A close-up of an adult Mesobuthus
cyprius (Photo: Jan Ove Rein).
 

M. cyprius were found under stones
in a natural burrow. They are very
cryptic against the soil. (Photo:
Jan Ove Rein).
The species found is Mesobuthus cyprius Gantenbein & Kropf,
a new and endemic species described with "DNA fingerprinting"
by Gantenbein et al. (Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 197 (1): 213-232,
mars 2000). These scorpions were formerly thought to be Mesobuthus
gibbosus anatolicus
. Dr. Gantenbein's paper shows that the Cyprus
population of Mesobuthus were highly distinct (allozyme and mitochondrial
DNA data) from other Mesobuthus populations in the Mediterranean area).
The morphological differentiation between the populations are very weak,
and I think it is very difficult to use morphology to identify this species
(but see Gantenbein's paper for a discussion). I will send one scorpion
to Dr. Ganenbein for DNA-identification, but it is very likely that all
Mesobuthus on Cyprus are of the same species. Strangely, Euscorpius spp.
has never been reported from Cyprus. Buthus occitanus have been reported
from Cyprus, but this was due to a misidentification of M. cyprius (Kritscher
1993).

The habitat of Mesobuthus cyprius on Cyprus:

The scorpions were found under medium sized stones,
without any burrow. The density of scorpions was very
low (Photo: Jan Ove Rein)
Professor Bjørn Ove Fimland on his first scorpion
expedition (he's a professor in physical eletronics). He
finally found a small scorpion after 3 hours of looking :)
This part of the habitat was quite dry with sandysoil
substrate. Most specimens were found here (Photo:
Jan Ove Rein)
This part of the habitat (were the young scorpions were
found) was cooler and had a substrate with more peat
(and some pine trees) (Photo: Jan Ove Rein).

Jan Ove Rein (C) 2017