The Satpura hill range in Maharashtra has yielded a new species of scorpion that has a few cousins in Pakistan.
The Compsobuthus satpuraensis, recorded for the first time from the foothills of the Satpuras in Jalgaon district, belongs to the same group — werneri — as the Compsobuthus pakistanus described from Pakistan more than a decade ago.
But it is morphologically closest to the Compsobuthus rugosulus, described from both India and Pakistan.
The new species from the Satpuras was described by Vivek Waghe, Satpal Gangalmale and Akshay Khandekar of the Thackeray Wildlife Foundation in Mumbai. The study was published in the latest issue of the Euscorpious journal.
Fourth species for India
It is the fourth species of the genus Compsobuthus for India and the first to be reported from Maharashtra. The finding has extended the known distribution range of this unique species by more than 600 km southwest to peninsular India.
“We had collected two scorpions of the genus Compsobuthus from two closely-spaced localities in Jalgaon district during a recent scorpion survey of non-protected areas in northern Maharashtra,” Mr. Waghe said.
“A detailed morphological examination revealed that the samples collected in 2020 differ from the congeners in several non-overlapping morphological characters. We went on to describe the scorpions as a new species based solely on their distinctive morphology,” he told The Hindu.
A congener means a member of the same taxonomic genus as another animal.
The Compsobuthus satpuraensis can be easily distinguished from its geographically closest congeners based on its size (37 mm long), colouration, granulation on metasomal segments (tail), number of carinae on pedipalp patella or pincers, and in pectinal teeth count.
The female of the species was found to be paler than the male.
Of the scorpion species found in India and Pakistan, only the Compsobuthus andresi belongs to the acutecarinatus group. The werneri group has the Compsobuthus sindicus, which like the pakistanus is found only in Pakistan.