New species of scorpion identified

Buthoscorpio chinnarensis, a new species of scorpion that was found in the areas close to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

A new species of scorpion has been identified from the surrounding areas of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the Western Ghats in Idukki district, by a group of scientists, including from the Western Ghat Regional Centre (Kozhikode) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). The new species has been named Buthoscorpio chinnarensis , and the finding has been published in the August issue of Taprobanica , a science journal published by the University of Indonesia.

The species, mostly found in the Chunalippetty forest area neighbouring the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, are black in colour and have a length of 3 to 4 cm. They are hard to recognise since they keep their fat tail folded back to their abdomen and appear like a breed of beetle, said a description of the genus by the scientists

Detailed examination of the specimens indicated that they showed close affinity with the Indian species Buthoscorpio politus , but also showed distinct characters that clearly suggested a new species, they said.

Scorpions in the Buthoscorpio genus are found very rarely in India.

They have been spotted earlier in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

It’s a major discovery after a team of scientists from the ZSI’s Kozhikode and Pune centres identified a rare species of scorpion, Rugosentus, from the Malayattur forests in the State in 2005, said P.M. Sureshan, senior scientist of the ZSI Kozhikode Centre, one of the scientists in the team.

There are around 2,000 known species of scorpions in the world, of which 113 are from India. In Kerala, they are limited to 22 species. “Most of the scorpions seen in India are venomous; however, they are not venomous enough to put the lives of humans in danger,” said Dr. Sureshan. According to him, the scorpions, which feed on different pests and small creatures in the soil, do no harm to human beings. “However, uncontrolled construction activities, deforestation and environment pollution threaten their existence,” he said. K. Aswathi, a research scholar at the Kozhikode centre of the ZSI and Wilson R. Lourenco of the Natural History Society Museum, Paris, are the other members of the team.

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Printable version | May 12, 2022 2:05:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/new-species-of-scorpion-identified/article7552989.ece