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EUROPEAN SCORPIONS

The following article is based on an article I wrote for the journal published by the Exotiske Insekter society in Scandinavia (december issue (no. 29), 2001, in danish). No reproduction of this article is permitted (electronic or printed) without my permit.

This article is continuously updated. Last updated: 23.04.14 [A major update is planned in 2014]

A REVIEW OF THE SCORPION FAUNA OF EUROPE.

Jan Ove Rein
Medical Library & Information Center
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Europe hosts a surprisingly high diversity of scorpions. At the moment, 27 valid species are reported from Europe (the species known from the Asian part of Turkey are excluded). Scorpions are reported from France, Monaco, Spain, Portugal, Italy, San Marino, Malta, Switzerland, Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Russia (North Caucasus), Ukraine (Crimea only), and the Balkan countries. In addition, an introduced colony of scorpions in southern England has been known since the 18th. century. Scorpion findings have also been reported from Germany, Holland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, but no data indicate that these countries host permanent populations (as England does). These scorpions have probably been accidental stowaways.

Buthidae

This family has three representatives in Europe, which do not overlap in distribution. They are usually found in hot and dry wasteland with sparse vegetation, where they hide in natural burrows under stones etc. during daytime. As in other buthids, the venom is quite strong and sting is very painful. I have not been able to find any reports of deaths or serious cases attributed to European scorpions in the literature, but see the comments in connection with Iurus dufoureius and Calchas nordmanni. The European species seem not to pose any great threat to healthy humans.

Buthus elongatus Rossi, 2012
New species from Andalusia (Malaga province) in Spain. More information later.

Buthus ibericus Lourenco, 2004
This new species has so far been collected only in three localities in southern Portugal and two locations in southern and easter Spain. It is possible that this species is also distributed outside these areas. More information later.

Buthus kunti Yagmur. Koc & Lourenco, 2011
Described from Cyrpus in 2011. Medium sized buthid that can reach 70 mm. Color is pale-yellow to yellow with brownish spots on the keels of the trunk. Very similar to Mesobuthus cyprius, which is the other endemic species on the island. The two species doesn't seem to overlap, but very little is known about the new species distribution on the island except for the reported findings in Northern Cyprus. B. kunti is probably distributed all over the island, but this have to be verified. I'm very interested in getting scorpions from Cyprus for investigation so that we can map the distribution of the to species!

Buthus montanus Lourenco, 2004
More information later.

Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789)

This scorpion is quite common in the southwestern parts of Europe, and is reported from France, Spain and Portugal. Reports of B. occitanus from Greece are probably misidentifications of Mesobuthus gibbosus. B. occitanus is also known from northern Africa, where several "forms" occur. Genetical research are being done on the taxonomic status of B. occitanus, and the results so far indicate the presence of three main clades: Iberian, Tunisian, and Moroccan. So far, the data have not justified a splitting of B. occitanus into two or more species. More investigations are necessary before any final conclusions can be reached (not all B. occitanus populations have been properly analyzed yet).

B. occitanus is 60-80 mm in length, and has a yellow or yellow-brown color. The granulations on the anterior part of carapace (in front of the median eyes) form a lyre shape. This scorpion is often found in dry and hot areas with sparse vegetation, where it hides under stones etc. during daytime. It has also been reported from Mediterranean forests in Spain at altitudes above 1000 meters (with snowfall in the winter). Even though this species is most commonly found in rural areas, I have one report from Portugal, where this species has entered a house on two occations. At least one of these specimens was a male, an this may explain its occurence in a house (males wander in search for females).

The European form of B. occitanus has a painful sting, but are not considered dangerous for healthy humans. The literature suggest that the African "forms" are much more potent, and deaths and serious cases have been reported.

Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Buthus trinacrius Lourenco & Rossi, 2013
Described from Sicily, Italy (and the first buthid from Italy). The species is probably extinct due to urbanization. More information later.

Mesobuthus cyprius Gantenbein et al. 2000

As the name indicates, this species is endemic for Cyprus. This species was previous regarded as a subspecies of M. gibbosus, (M. gibbosus anatolicus), but molecular and genetic analysis revealed that the Cyprus population was clearly different from the mainland populations of the subspecies. The Cyprus population obtained species status in 2000.

It is almost impossible to separate M. cyprius from M. gibbosus by traditional morphological means. Genetical analysis are necessary. The only comfort is that all scorpions from Cyprus are probably M. cyprius (no other species are so far reported from this island, but it is important to note that no extensive field studies have been done. I'm very interested to know if someone has found Euscorpius or other scorpions on this island!). In 2011, a seccond buthid species has been reported from Cyrpus: Buthus kunti (see above). More information later. This scorpion is yellow to yellow-brown in color, and may reach 60-75 mm in length.

M. cyprius is known from mountain areas with spare vegetation. Two locations are reported from the northern part of the island, and I collected a few specimens in a small area located at 1900 meters on the highest mountain on the island (Mt. Olympos). This area experiences snow in the winter. In 2003 I got a report from Polis Chrysochou in western Cyprus, where a specimen was found in the bathroom of a recently built house at sea level. It is not clear wether M. cyprius has a natural distribution in this area, or this specimen was a stowaway in building materials from the mountains. This is one of the first reports of Mesobuthus entering houses in Europe (see M. gibbossus for another report). I have now gotten a report of several sting cases in northwestern Cyprus (1 in bed, 1 in a shoe, 1 in luggage and 1 by a pool). Based on this it seems that M. cyprius is distributed in northwestern Cyprus, and that it also is found in human areas (farmland, gardens and occational in buildings). M. cyprius normally hide under stones etc. during daytime. I now have reports of scorpions found in western and southwestern Cyprus in the following locations: Polis Chrysochou, Lemona Village (Paphos area), Akrotiri, Dhekelia and Kato Pyrgos) and also one finding in a park in Nicosia. A specimen has also been found in a house outside Limassol (the scorpion was found under dropped washcloths in an upstairs bathroom). I do not know if this is an introduced specimen/stowaway from another area, or if the scorpion has entered the house from the outside and is an natural inhabitant of this area. M. cyprius seems to be quite common in parts of Cyrpus.

No literaturedata on the medical significance of M. cyprius have been found, but it is reasonable to assume that the sting is very painful, without causing serious systemic effects. This seems to be confirmed from the 7-8 cases reports I've gotten. Sting has been very painful in some cases, though. Like B. occitanus and M. gibbosus, M. cyprius is probably not dangerous for healthy humans, but it is possible that small children may develop more serious effects.

(Thanks to Sandra Rose Dawson for supplying information about M. cyprius stings in Cyprus)


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brullé, 1832)

This yellow to yellow-brown scorpion can reach 67-75 mm in length, and is distributed in eastern parts of Europe. It is reported from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece (including many of the Greek islands), Macedonia, Turkey and Yugoslavia. M. gibbosus is found in several habitats. I have collected it in dry and hot wasteland without any vegetation, both in mountain areas and on the beach, only meters away from the sea. In addition, some papers reports of collecting sites located in forests. It seems that this species can be found in both humid areas and warm and dry areas. M. gibbosus is usually located under stones and other suitable objects on the ground. Even though this species has a very rural distribution, I recently (2003) got a report from Gündogan in South-Western Turkey about a specimen found behind a madrass in the bedroom of a holliday house (in a small village). This is an indication that this species also accidentally might enter houses and other building.

See M. cyprius for information about differences between these two species.

Very little data have been available on the medical significance of M. gibbosus. As far as I can tell, the sting is very painful, but does not cause serious systemic effects. Like B. occitanus and M. cyprius, M. gibbosus is probably not dangerous for healthy humans.


Photo: Dietmar Huber (C)

In addition to these three buthids, Michalis & Dolkeras (1989) reported a finding of Androctonus bicolor from Greece. This is not correct, and the scorpion in question was a M. gibbosus (Fet & Braunwalder, 2000). A introduced colony of the South American scorpion Centruroides gracilis has been reported from the Canary Islands (these islands are not a part of the European fauna element, but the islands are a part of Spain, and I therefore choose to mention this). Armas & Báez (1988) reported about an established colony in La Laguna, Tenerife island, but I do not know if this scorpion has spread to the other islands in the area.

Chactidae

This family is represented with one genus in Europe, Belisarius. This genus, with one species, was previsouly included in the small family Troglotayosicidae. This family was abolished in 2003, and Belisarius was tranfered to Chactidae.

Belisarius xambeui Simon, 1879

This strange scorpion lacks eyes and pigmentation, which is typical for many cave-living animals. This species is 3-4 cm long, and the trunk has a pale yellow color (almost translucent) Pedipalps are dark brown, and metasoma (tail) is also somewhat darker than the trunk. This is the only troglophile ("cave loving") species in Europe.

B. xambeui is the rarest scorpion in Europe, and is only reported from the southeastern Pyrenees in France and in Cataluńa in Spain. It lives in quite high altitudes (650-1500 m). Even though it has cave-dwelling adaptations, it is seldom found deep into caves, but rather occupies cave entrances. B. xambeui can also be found under stones etc., and in connection with abandoned man-made structures like collapsed chimneys, cellars and castle ruins.


Photo: Serge Mallet (C)

Euscorpiidae

Euscorpius is the only genus of this family in Europe. Members of this genus are known from several countries, and are quite common in some places (In addition to the European distribution, some species have been reported from North Africa, Georgia and the Asian part of Turkey, Iraq, Yemen (introduced) and Uruguay (introduced)). Because of the synanthropic nature of some of the species in this genus, Euscorpius specimens are reported as stowaways from time to time in many countries outside their natural distribution ( e. g. Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway).

Most species of Euscorpius are similar in appearance, and can be difficult to identify without checking trichobothrial structures on the pedipalps. Some of the species also display intraspecific variations in colors and size, which also make identification more difficult. An online identification key is available in The Scorpion Files.

The venom of all species of Euscorpius is harmless. These species will rarely sting, and the smaller species have difficulties with penetrating human skin. Some sources say that the sting of E. italicus might be very painful (I. Stathi, pers. comm.).

Euscorpius alpha Caporiacco, 1950

This species was formerly known as a subspecies of E. germanus. Molecular and genetic analysis of the different populations of E. germanus in southern Switzerland, northern Italy and southern Austria revealed the presence of two different forms, separated by the river Adige (Etsch) in the northern Italy. The genetic difference between the two forms was large enough to justify an elevation of the western form to a new species, E. alpha in the end of 2000.

It is almost impossible to separate E. alpha and E. germanus by using morphological characteristics, but collection site will tell which species you have. E. alpha (western distribution) and E. germanus (eastern distribution) do not overlap in distribution. E. alpha is a small, black scorpion, which rarely reach more than 30 mm in length. It is usually found in mountain areas with a reasonable high humidity, often under stones, logs etc. A. alpha is so far reported from north west Italy (Piemonte, Valle d'Aosta and Lombardy) and Switzerland.


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius aquilejensis (C. L. Koch, 1837)
July 2013: Populations belonging to the subspecies E. carpathicus aquilejensis, which was synonymized with E. tergestinus have now been raised to species status. The new species is restricted to northern and central Italy, San Marino, Vatican City State, western Slovenia, northwestern Croatia. More details later.

Euscorpius avcii Tropea, Yagmur, Koc, Yesilyurt & Rossi 2012
Fall 2012: New species in the E. carpathicus species complex from Dilek Penninsula (Aydin Province), Westerm Turkey. More details later. Picture.

Euscorpius balearicus Caporiacco, 1950

This species belongs to the "E. carpathicus species complex", and was previously recognized as a subspecies of E. carpathicus. E. balearicus is distributed on the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Cabrera, Ibiza & Formentera) in the Mediterranean sea, where it can be found under stones etc.

E. balearicus is small to medium sized (30 - 37 mm). Coloration is light brownish (actually some orange overtones in some specimens) with little contrasting patterns. Metasoma reduced proportionally, and unusual large pedipalps (compared to other populations of E. carpathicus). As a rule of thumb: All Euscorpius from the Balearic Islands are E. balearicus.


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius beroni Fet, 2000

This species was recently described from a mountain area (1400-2400 meters) in northern Albania. Some specimens have been collected as high as 2569 meters, something which is very impressive for European scorpions. This is a small species (appr. 30 mm), with a light brownish trunk and brown legs and pedipalps.

This species belongs to the "E. mingrelicus species complex", which is so far poorly investigated. Due to this, there is some uncertainty regarding its species status, and more research are needed on E. mingrelicus and its subspecies (V. Fet, pers. comm.).

I have found no information about the biology of this species.

Euscorpius birulai Fet, Soleglad, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014
April 2014: A cave species endemic to the Euboea Island, Greece. More details later.

Euscorpius candiota Birula, 1903
September 2013: The scorpion population in Crete (Greece) is finally elevated to species level from subspecies status. More details later.

Euscorpius carpathicus (Linnaeus, 1767)

This species had previously 23 subspecies and had a very wide and diverse distribution in Europe. Systematic morphological and genetical analysis revealed the existence of several "hidden" species within the E. carpathicus species complex. In the last year, the following new species have been separated from E. carpathicus, and given species status: E. balearicus, E. hadzii, E. koschewnikowi, E. sicanus and E. tergestinus. The status of some populations in eastern Europe (Balkan, northern Greece) is also still unclear. I will add more information about these populations as soon as new research is published.

Euscorpius carpathicus is now restricted to Romania only. Adults are dark brown in overall coloration (legs and telson are yellow-orange) and no distinct patterns are present. The metasomal segments (tail segments) and pedipalps are somewhat stocky in appearance. Adult size vary in legths from 30 to 40 mm.

It is quite easy to identify the members of the "Euscorpius carpathicus species complex", but much trickier to identify the species within the complex. The identification information I'm giving here is meant for more experienced scorpionists, and I will not explain these characteristics in detailed (see my online Euscorpius identification guide for more information). The key diagnostic characters for this species are that the pedipalp patellar external trichobothria series em has only 3 trichobothria. In addition, this species has a reduced dorsal patellar spur.

I've so far found no detailed data about the habitat preferences of this species, but I expect that they are similar to the other related species (they propbably prefer different habitats like gardens, in fields, in forests, in houses, in old walls etc., where the scorpions can be found under stones, bark, logs and in cracks and crevices in dead trees, stones and rocks etc).


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius celanus Tropea, 2012
July 2012: New species from Celano, Abruzzo in central Italy. More details later.

Euscorpius concinnus (C. L. Koch, 1837)

This species has recently (November 2005) been elevated to species status after having been regarded as a black phenotype in E. tergestinus. Orginally, C. L. Koch described this dark Euscorpius Scorpio concinnus, but it was later reduced to subspecies status by Caporiacco (1950) under the name Euscorpius, carpathicus concinnus.

E. concinnus is a black or dark colored scorpion (while E. tergestinus is mainly orange-brown, reddish). Other important characteristics are a heavy metasoma (tail), relative short pedipalp segments, a short dorsal patellar spine and weak granulation on leg femur. E. concinnus is usually found in natural habitats (under stones and bark in forests), while E. tergestinus seems to prefer antropogenic habitats (like stone walls of buildings and fences).

E. cocinnus has a wide distribution in Italy (Bergamo to Salerno). It has been reported from sea level to 1500 meters. E. concinnus is sympatric with E. tergestinus in several Italian regions. E. concinnus is also distributed in southeastern France (Nice area). The distribution in France is under investigation, and it is possible that this species has a wider distribution (populations that today are reported as E. tergestinus).

See E. tergestinus below for more information about the scorpions in "the E. carpathicus species complex" and how to identify them.

Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius corcyraeus Tropea & Rossi, 2011-2012
February 2013: New species from Corfu, Greece. More details later. See also.

Euscorpius croaticus Di Caporiacco, 1950
December 2012: Raised from subspecies status under E. germanus. Rare scorpion from Croatia. More details later. See also.

Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013
November 2013: New species from western Bosnia & Herzegovina, southern Croatia and northwestern Montenegro. More details later.

Euscorpius flavicaudis (DeGeer, 1778)

This species has a western distribution in Europe, and is reported from England (introduced), France, Italy and Spain. E. flavicaudis is one of the largest members of the genus, and can reach 35-45 mm in length. The trunk is dark (almost black) with with lighter colored legs.

This scorpion is usually found in warm and humid areas (forests, fields, gardens, parks etc) under stones etc., but can also be found in human habitations (in old houses, in cracks and crevices of walls, in ruins etc.).

As mentioned earlier, E. flavicaudis has been introduced to Southern England by human activities. The first reports of these scorpions can be seen around the 18 th. century, and the scorpions have survived since then. The survival of E. flavicaudis in England is thanks to the species ability to adapt to a life in the cracks and crevices of the old brick buildings in some ports of southern England. Five different colonies are known, but some of these might be extinct now. I've been told that many of the buildings where the scorpions live are being renovated, and this means that the cracks and crevices needed for the scorpions to survive will disappear (R. Gabriel, pers. comm.). I fear that the unique scorpion population of England might disappear in the near future, unless it gets protected (this will probably not happen, because the scorpions are classified as alien species to the UK fauna).


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius gamma Caporiacco, 1950

This species was described in 2000, and belongs to the "E. mingrelicus species complex". E. gamma is reported from Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, and is a dark colored scorpion that reach 32 mm in length. It is usually found in humid mountain areas, where it can be collected under stones, logs and under the bark of old trees. It is very difficult to separate this species from E. mingrelicus and E. germanus.


Photo: Dietmar Huber (C)

Euscorpius germanus (C.L. Koch, 1837)

This species is found in mountain areas with high humidity. In some areas they are found above 2000 meters, and some of these areas have an average annual temperature between 4 and 10 degrees C (in January, the temperature in some of these areas can drop to minus 4). E. germanus is usually found under stones and under bark. This species is rarely associated with human activities.

E. germanus is reported from north east Italy (Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli), Austria (south east), Switzerland and eastern Slovenia(previous reports of this species from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Croatia are probably scorpions belonging to the "E. mingrelicus species complex" (V. Fet, pers. comm.)). It is uncertain how widely this species is distributed in the countries, as this species thrives in desolated mountain areas, which are poorly investigated.

The trunk of this small scorpion (18-30 mm) is blackish, with darkly colored legs. It is very difficult to separate E. germanus from E. alpha and E. gamma (except that collecting site will be of help, as these species do not overlap in distribution).


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius gocmeni Tropea, Yagmur & Yesilyurt, 2014
April 2014: New species from Antalya Province, southern Turkey. More details later.

Euscorpius hadzii Caporiacco, 1950

This recently described species previously belonged to the E. carpathicus complex. This medium to large species vary in coloration from almost black to lighter orange brown. The metasoma (tail) is somewhat elongated and the doral pattelar spur are well devopled. Adult size range from 30-45 mm.

It is quite easy to identify the members of the "Euscorpius carpathicus species complex", but much trickier to identify the species within the complex. The identification information I'm giving here is meant for more experienced scorpionists, and I will not explain these characteristics in detailed (see my online Euscorpius identification guide for more information). The key diagnostic characters for this species are that the pedipalp patellar external trichobothria series eb has 5 trichobothria (this characteristic is shared with E. sicanus) and series eba has 6-7 trichobothria (only 4-5 in E. sicanus).

E. hadzii prefers different habitats like gardens, in fields, in forests, in houses, in old walls etc., where the scorpions can be found under stones, bark, logs and in cracks and crevices in dead trees, stones and rocks etc.

This species is distributed in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria (southwest), Croatia, Greece (northwest), Macedonia and Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Montenegro, Sertbia).


Photo: Valerio Vignoli (C)


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius italicus (Herbst, 1800)

This is the largest of the Euscorpius species, with adult lengths 40 - 50 mm. The color of the body is dark brown to black and with orange-brown legs and sting (telson). E. italicus is more xerophile (heat loving) than the other species, and is often found in sun exposed habitats. This synathropic species is common in lowland habitats (but it is reported from mountain forests in some parts of eastern Europe), where it is quite common in ruins, in buildings, under house-hold furnishings, in cracks and crevices of walls etc. It can also be found in grass hills, under stones etc. in some areas (e.g. Switzerland).

The large size is a way to identify adults of this species, but the best way is to use trichobothrial patterns (see family introduction above). A population of E. italicus from Greece was recently elevated to species status and named E. naupliensis. This species has a limited distribution, while E. italicus is widely distributed. See the E. naupliensis section for more information on how to separate the two species.

E. italicus is reported from Albania, Croatia (western parts), France (southeast), Georgia (Black Sea coast), Greece (western parts), Italy, Macedonia, Monaco, Romania (possible introduced), Russia (Krasnodar region and Black Sea coast), San Marino, Slovenia (western parts), Switzerland (southern parts), Turkey (northern parts, Black Sea coast), Yugoslavia (Montenegro). Introduced populations have been reported from Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and Yemen.


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius koschewnikowi Birula, 1900

This rare scorpion is only know from Mt. Athos (Chalkidiki) in Greece. It is a medium to large sized species, which is medium to dark brown in color. The posteriour part of the pody (including the tail) and the legs are lighter in color. The metasoma is quite slender with all segments longer than wide. The exceptionally slender and smooth metasoma are key diagnostic characters of this species to be used in separating it from the two related species, E. carpathicus candiota and E. tergestinus, which both share the similar pedipalp patellar external trichobothria series with this species (eb=4, eba=4, em=4). See my online Euscorpius identification guide for more information.

I have no data on the habitat of this species, but I know that other Euscorpius species in Greece are found in houses and other human buildings.

Euscorpius lycius Yagmur, Tropea & Yesilyurt, 2013
November 2013: New species from southwestern Turkey. More details later, but see my blog post here.

Euscorpius mingrelicus (Kessler, 1874)

Like E. carpathicus, E. mingrelicus is a species with a large intraspecific variation (10 subspecies are described). This species is probably a "species complex", and future research might show that this species actually are several closely related species (E. gamma was separated from this "species complex"). E. mingrelicus has an eastern distribution, and is reported from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

Little information is available on the biology of this species, but it seems that it thrives in high altitude areas with some humidity (both in mountain forests and in higher areas with sparse vegetation). E. mingrelicus is also reported from river valleys in Austria. It hides under stones and other suitable objects on the ground, but is also found under the bark of dead trees and logs.

It is very difficult to separate this species from E. germanus and E. gamma. E. mingrelicus is also dark (blackish) like the other two, but is somewhat larger (adults reach in average 38 mm in length).


Photo: Dr. Ahmet Karatash (C)

Euscorpius mylonasi Fet, Soleglad, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014
April 2014: New species endemic to the Euboea Island, Greece. More details later.

Euscorpius naupliensis (C. L. Koch, 1837)


Photo: Marco Colombo

This species was recently separated from E. italicus. This is a medium to large Euscorpius, which is usually brown to dark brown in overall coloration. Adults can reach 30-42 mm. This species is closely related to E. itaicus, and it is not easy to separate the two species. In E. naupliensis, trichobothrium et on the chelal fixed finger ("the pincers") is more proximal, situated close to outer denticle 5. Numbers of trichobothria on the external aspect of pedipalp patella serie esba = 0-2 . See my online identification guide for more information. A more easier way to identify this species is to use collecting site. This species has a very limited distribution, and is only known from Greece (Peloponnese and Zakynthos Island (including nearby Pelouzo Island).

E. naupliensis is synanthropic (associated with human activities) and is often found to inhabit cracks and crevices in old houses, fences and walls.

Euscorpius oglasae Di Caporiacco, 1950

This species was recently (2006/2007) described from the Montecristo Island (Tuscan Archipelago, Italy), where it probably is endemic. The island population was orginally described as Euscorpius carpathicus oglasae Di Caporiacco, 1950, but this subspecies was later synonymized with E. tergestinus (C. L. Koch, 1837). A recent study has redescribed this taxa and based on morphological analysis concluded that the Monecristo population is a valid species. E. oglasae seems to be more closely related to E. balearicus than the members of the E. tergestinus complex.

This is a large scorpion (compared to the other species in the Euscorpius carpathicus species complex), with total lenghts up to 43 mm. Overall body is light in color with redish pedipalps claws (fingers) and a darker colored fifth tail segment.

E. oglasae is a hygrophilic (humid loving) species, that is only found in humid areas on the island (around the only house on the island under stones of small walls, but also under bark of of trees and inside a rotten log.

E. oglasae has a risk of extinction because of its very limited distribution in a small area. It is very vulnerable to climatic changes and loss of humid habitats. The island fauna is protected and it is not possible to visit Montecristo without permission.

Euscorpius ossae Di Caporiacco, 1950
September 2013: Greek subspecies elevated to species status. More details later.

Euscorpius parthenopeius Tropea, Parmakelis, Sziszkosz, Balanika & Bouderka, 2014
February 2014: New species in the E. carpathicus species complex from the Naples Province, Italy. More details later.

Euscorpius rahsenae Yagmur & Tropea, 2013
Mars 2013: New species from Bursa Province, in Marmara Region of Turke. More details later. Photo: Ersen Yagmur (C)

Euscorpius scaber Birula, 1900
September 2013: Greek subspecies elevated to species status. More details later.

Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1837)

This recently described species previously belonged to the E. carpathicus complex. This medium to large species vary in coloration from dark brown to lighter orange brown. Adult size range from 30-40 mm.

It is quite easy to identify the members of the "Euscorpius carpathicus species complex", but much trickier to identify the species within the complex. The identification information I'm giving here is meant for more experienced scorpionists, and I will not explain these characteristics in detailed (see my online Euscorpius identification guide for more information). The key diagnostic characters for this species are that the pedipalp patellar external trichobothria series eb has 5 trichobothria (this characteristic is shared with E. hadzii, while E. tergestinus has only 4) and series eba has 4-5 trichobothria (6-7 in E. hadzii).

E. sicanus is often synanthropic (associated with human activities) and is found to inhabit cracks and crevices in old houses, fences and walls. I collected several speciemens in the large city wall of the famous, old Italian town San Gimingano, and I also collected two specimens in the bedroom of our holliday house in Tuscany in 2002. In some areas this species can also be found under stones, logs and under bark in forests. E. sicanus has been found in Greece in moist conditions in mountain valleys, under stones, in mountains up to 1000 m.

This species is distributed in Italy (central and southern parts and Sardina and Sicily), Malta, Greece, Madeira and some areas in northern Africa (Tunisia, Libyia and Egypt). In Italy, it seems that the distribution stops in Tuscany, were the species is sympatric with E. tergestinus (which dominate northern parts of Italy).


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Euscorpius tauricus (C. L. Koch, 1837)

This species, which previously belonged to the "E. carpathicus species complex", was elevated to species status in October 2003. This is a rare species, that so far only has been reported from Ukraina (Crimea, southern coast). This species is quite isolated from other relatedEuscorpius populations, the closest being the Romanian populations of E. carpathicus 500 km westward. The pedipalp patellar external trichobothria series eb and series eba have have 4 trichobothria (this characteristic is shared with E. balearicus, E. koschewnikowi and E. tergestinus. So far, I do not have any information on how these species can be separated, except for using collection site.

Limited information about E. tauricus's habitat are available, but they have been collected under stones and under forest litter in warmer areas.

Euscorpius tergestinus (C. L. Koch, 1837)

Another "new" species that previously belonged to the E. carpathicus complex. This medium sized species is mainly orange brown or reddish. Adult size range from 30-40 mm. This species is variable in size, color and morphology. The black form previsously included in this species has recently been identified as an unique species, Euscorpius concinnus (C. L. Koch, 1837) (see above).

It is quite easy to identify the members of the "Euscorpius carpathicus species complex", but much trickier to identify the species within the complex. The identification information I'm giving here is meant for more experienced scorpionists, and I will not explain these characteristics in detailed (see my online Euscorpius identification guide for more information). The key diagnostic characters for this species are that the pedipalp patellar external trichobothria series eb has 4 trichobothria (this characteristic is shared with E. koschewnikowi and E. carpathicus candiota), while E. sicanus and E. hadzii have 5). This species can be separted from E. koschewnikowi by the latter's long and slender metasoma. The status of E. carpathicus candiota is still under investigation, and so far I do not have any clear characteristics to be used to separate this species from E. tergestinus (except that all Euscorpius from Crete are E. carpathicus candiota).

E. tergestinus prefers different habitats like gardens, in houses, in old buldings, fences etc., where the scorpions can be found under stones and in cracks and crevices of stone walls. It seems that this species has a more antropogenic preference, while E. concinnus are usually found in natural habitats.

This species is distributed in Austria (introduced), Croatia, Italy (extreme northeast), Slovenia and Czech Republic (introduced). In July 2013, many populations of this species was moved into a separate species, Euscorpius aquilejensis (see above for more info).


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

Iuridae

Two rare representatives of this family are found in Europe [This information is outdated and will be updated soon. Also, see below for info on taxa]. These species are not mentioned in medical literature, but there exists an unpublished report from the Greek island Kos (Eastern Aegean Sea) that a man (not allergic to scorpion sting) almost died from a sting from Iurus dufoureius (I. Stathi, pers. comm.). The symptoms seemed to be systemic. Peoples also report about of severe symptoms from Calchas nordmanni stings from another Greek island (Megisti). It is very difficult to conclude anything from these unverified reports about the potential danger of Mediterranean Iuridae. These scorpions are very rare, and are seldom in contact with peoples. This might explained the lack of cases in the medical literature (peoples are rarly stung by these scorpions). It is also important to note that no other Iuridae worldwide are reported to have medical significance. Until further research is done, the European Iuridae should be treated with respect. Peoples who were stung were mostly construction workers who worked in the foundations of old stony buildings (I. Stathi, pers. comm.).

Calchas birulai Fet, Soleglad & Kovarik, 2009

Calchas gruberi Fet, Soleglad & Kovarik, 2009



Photo: Ersen Aydyn Yagmur (C)

Calchas nordmanni Birula, 1899

These are a small scorpions that reaches 45 mm in length. They are light brown in color. Previously, C. nordmanni was the only known species, but in a review article of the genus Fet, Soleglad & Kovarik (2009) conclude that three distinct, disjunct species exist rather than one widespread species (C. nordmanni) as previously thought. The genus is known from from Greece (the islands of Megisti and Samos), parts of Turkey and northen Iraq. A potential sighting in Syria has not been verified. More information is needed on the biology of this genus. As far as I can tell, the species prefer humid habitats in forests, where it is located under stones and other suitable objects. More information will be added later.


Photo: Ersen Aydyn Yagmur (C)

Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832)

A new revision on Iurus has been published in August 2012. A new genus and a couple of new species are described. Here are the conclusions:

Iurus dekanum (Roewer, 1943), stat. nov. (Greece: Crete)
Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) (Greece: Peloponnese and Kythira Island)
Iurus kinzelbachi Kovarík, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010 (Turkey: Aydin and Izmir Provinces; Greece: Samos Island)
Protoiurus asiaticus (Birula, 1903), comb. nov. (Turkey: Adana, Adiyaman, Kahramanmaras, Mersin and Nigde Provinces)
Protoiurus kadleci (Kovarík, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010), comb. nov. (Turkey: Antalya, and Mersin Provinces)
Protoiurus kraepelini (von Ubisch, 1922), comb. nov. (Turkey: Antalya, Isparta, Konya, Karaman, Mersin, and Mugla Provinces; Greece: Megisti Island)
Protoiurus rhodiensis Soleglad, Fet, Kovarík & Yagmur, sp. nov. (Greece: Rhodes Island)
Protoiurus stathiae Soleglad, Fet, Kovarík & Yagmur, sp. nov. (Greece: Karpathos Island)

More details will be published soon.

A revision of the genus Iurus was published in April 2010 by Kovarik, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur. This study concluded that the number of species in the genus is five:

I. asiaticus Birula, 1903* - Eastern Anatolian mountains, Turkey
I. dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) - Mainland Greece, Crete, Kythira and Gavdos
I. kadleci Kovarik, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010* - Limited area in Antalya and Mersin Provinces, Turkey
I. kinzelbachi Kovarik, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010* - Limited range in western Anatolia, Turkey
I. kraepelini von Ubisch, 1922* - Southern Anatolia, Turkey (most common and widespread species)

In addition, the populations from six eastern Aegean islands (Fourni, Karpathos, Kasos, Rhodos, Saria and Samos) so far have an undeterminated status. More investigations are necessary to conclude which species they belong to. More information about the new taxa will be presented in an forthcomming update of this article.

The information below was previsouly written for Iurus dufoureius as a species complex, and must now be viewed as general information on the genus Iurus.

This is the largest scorpion in Europe. Adults measure up to 100 mm. Body color is dark brown to black. Legs are less dark than the trunk. Some authors treat this species as two different species, I. dufoureius (Greece) and I. asiaticus (Turkey). The valid status today is that I. dufoureius is one species with two subspecies (I. dufoureius dufoureius (Greece) and I. dufoureius asiaticus (Turkey)). This species is under investigation, though, and it will be interesting to see the research results.

This is a rare scorpion, that is only known from a few places in Greece (including some of the Greek islands) and Turkey. I. dufoureius is hygrophilic, and it is usually found in humid habitats like compost-based forest floor, shielded from the heat. Large stones are usually used as hiding places, but some specimens are located in natural holes. I dufoureius hides deep in the ground during the warmest part of the summer (I don't know if this species makes its own burrows, or use natural burrows during this period). In Crete I discovered a colony of Iurus that inhabited a large rock wall near a river (very close to the sea). Both adults and juveniles hid in cracks and crevices in the rock wall. This shows that this species can be found in different habitats, but humidty seems to be a common factor. This scorpion is usually encountered after rainfall in the spring. I. dufoureius is also found in houses in some places in Greece during the summer. It seems to prefer the basements, or under barrels of wine and other wooden furniture (I. Stathi, pers. comm.). I dufoureius is usually located in the lowlands, but there exist reports of specimens collected at 1000-1450 meters (Taygetos) and 1680 meters (Ciglikara, Antatolia).

This is an impressive species, of which I found one female of in Turkey in 2001. The female gave birth to 12 large scorplings in the fall of 2001. I. Stathi (pers. comm.) reports of a female from Greece giving birth to 13 scorplings in 1999. This seems to indicate that this species give birth to a small number (12-13) of large, well-developed offspring. In september 2003, several of the offspring are still alive and have now become subadults.


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)


Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

In this article I have excluded the species that are reported from the Asian (eastern) part of Turkey. So far, the following species have been reported from eastern part of Turkey:

Androctonus crassicauda (Olivier, 1807)
Buthacus sp.
Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905)
Hottentotta judaicus (Simon, 1872)
Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828)
Mesobuthus eupeus (C.L. Koch, 1839)
Oliverius caucasicus (Nordmann, 1840) (formerly Mesobuthus caucasicus)
Scorpio maurus Linnaeus, 1758

It is possible that other species occur in these areas, as they are not very well investigated.

I'm very interested in getting European scorpions for my collection (I'm interested in purchasing or exchanges). It is important for me to know where the scorpions were collected, as some of them might be used for research. Please contact me if you are able to collect scorpions for me: jan.rein@ub.ntnu.no.

Thanks:

I'm very grateful to professor Victor Fet and Dr. Rolando Teruel for reviewing the first edition of this article (professor Fet has also reviewed the seccond edition), and to professor Victor Fet and Drs. Benjamin Gantenbein and Valerio Vignoli for keeping me updated on the research on Euscorpius taxonomy and phylogeny! Dr. Iasmi Stathi has supplied me with a lot of unpublished information, and also made comments to the manuscript. I'm very grateful for this! A special thanks to Dave Gaban for checking the language and spellings in the article.

Recomended literature:

Armas, L. F. de & M. Báez. 1988. Presencia de Centruroides gracilis (Latreille) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) en Tenerife, Islas Canarias. Misc. Zool., vol. 40, 2.

Braunwalder, M. E. 2001: Scorpions of Switzerland: summary of a faunistic survey. 279-286. In V. Fet & P. A. Selden (eds.). Scorpions 2001. In memoriam Gary A. Polis. British Arachnological Society. Burnham Beeches, Bucks. xi + 404 pp.

Cloudsley-Thompson, J. L. and C. Constantinou (1983). "How does the scorpion Euscorpius flavicaudis (Deg.) manage to survive in Britain." Int. J. Biometeor., vol. 27(2), 87-92.

Crucitti, P. (1993). Distribution and diversity of Italian scorpions. REDIA, vol. LXXVI (2), 281-300.

Fet, V. (2000). Scorpions (Arachnida, Scorpiones) from the Balkan Peninsula in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia. Historia Naturalis Bulgarica, vol. 11, 47-60.

Fet, V. & M. E. Soleglad. (2002). Morphology analysis supports presence of more than one species in the "Euscorpius carpathicus" complex (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius, 3: 1-51. Fulltext (large file!)

Fet, V. & M. E. Braunwalder (2000). The scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) of the Aegean area: current problems in taxonomy and biogeography. Belg. J. Zool., vol. 130 (suppl.), 17-22. Fulltext

Fet, V. , M. E. Soleglad, B. Gantenbein, V. Vignoli, N. Salomone, E. V. Fet & P. J. Schembri. (2003). New molecular and morphological data on the "Euscorpius carpathicus" species complex (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from Italy, Malta, and Greece justify the elevation of E. c. sicanus (C.L. Koch, 1837) to the species level. Revue Suisse de Zoologie, vol. 110(2), 355-379. Fulltext

Fet, V., M. Kunter & B. Sket. 2001: Scorpions of Slovenia: a faunistic and biogeographical survey. 255-265. In V. Fet & P. A. Selden (eds.). Scorpions 2001. In memoriam Gary A. Polis. British Arachnological Society. Burnham Beeches, Bucks. xi + 404 pp. Fulltext

Francke, O.F.(1981) Taxonomic and zoogeographic observations on Iurus Thorell (Scorpiones, Iuridae). Bull. British Arachnol. Soc. 5(5), 221-224.

Gantenbein, B. & Largiadčr, C. R. (2003). The phylogeographic importance of the strait of Gibraltar as a gene flow barrier in terrestrial arthropods: a case study with the scorpion Buthus occitanus as model organism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, vol. 28, 119-130.

Gantenbein, B., M. E. Soleglad, V. Fet, P. Crucitti & E. V. Fet. (2002). Euscorpius naupliensis (C. L. Koch, 1837) (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae): elevation to the species level justified by molecular and morphology data. Revista Iberica de Aracnologia, vol. 6, 13-43. Fulltext

Gantenbein, B, V. Fet, M. Barker & A. Scholl (2000). Nuclear and mitochondrial markers reveal the existence of two parapatric scorpion species in the Alps: Euscorpius germanus (C. L. Koch, 1837) and E. alpha Caporiacco, 1950, stat. nov. (Euscorpiidae). Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 107 (4), 843-869. Fulltext

Gantenbein, B., Kropf, C., Largiadčr, C. R. & Scholl, A. (2000). Molecular and morphological evidence for the presence of a new buthid taxon (Scorpiones: Buthidae) on the island of Cyprus. Revue suisse de Zoologie, 107(1), 213-232.

Gantenbein, B., M. E. Soleglad & V. Fet. (2001). Euscorpius balearicus Caporiacco, stat. nov. (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae): molecular (allozymes and mtDNA) and morphological evidence for an endemic Balearic Island species. Org. Divers. Evol., vol. 1(4), 301-320.

Komposch, C. & B. Komposch (2000). Die Skorpione Kärntens. Carinthia II, vol. 190, 247-268.

Komposch, C., B. Scherabon & V. Fet. 2001: Scorpions of Austria. 267-271. In V. Fet & P. A. Selden (eds.). Scorpions 2001. In memoriam Gary A. Polis. British Arachnological Society. Burnham Beeches, Bucks. xi + 404 pp. Fulltext

Kovarik, F. (1999). Review of European scorpions, with a key to species. Serket, vol. 6(2), 38-44.

Kinzelbach, R. (1975). Die skorpione der Ägäis. Beiträge zur systematik, phylogenie und biogeographie. Zool. Jb. Syst., vol. 102, 12-50.

Kritscher, E. (1993), Ein beitrag zur verbreitung der skorpione im östlichen Mittelmeerraum. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, vol. 94/95, 377-391.

Michelas, K. & P. Dolkeras (1989). Beitrag zur kenntnis der Skorpione Thessaliens und Epirus (Nordgriechenland). Entomol. Mitt. Zool. Mus. Hamburg, vol. 9(136/137), 259-270.

Scherabon, B., B. Gantenbein, V. Fet, M. Barker, M. Kunter, C. Kropf & D. Huber (2000). A new species of scorpion from Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia: Euscorpius gamma Caporiacco, 1950, Stat. Nov. (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Ekologia (Bratislava), vol. 19 (suppl. 3), 253-262.

 


Jan Ove Rein (C) 2014