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What are scorpions?

Why study scorpions?
Life History
Dwindling Expertise


As listed in the Synopsis of Described Scorpions of the World  and the Scorpion Files, approximately 1500 extant species in 170 genera and, depending on the authority, between 13 and 20 families are recognized in the arachnid order Scorpiones (Fet et al. 2000; Fet & Soleglad 2005; Lourenço 2000; Prendini 2000; Fet & Selden 2001; Soleglad & Sissom 2001; Kovařík 2001, 2002; Soleglad & Fet 2003; Soleglad et al. 2005; Prendini & Wheeler 2005).  This is an almost fourfold increase in the number of species listed in Kraepelin’s (1899) survey of the world scorpion fauna.  Although comprising only a small component of arthropod diversity, scorpions are of considerable interest to scientist and layman alike (Brownell & Polis 2001; Cloudsley-Thompson 1990).          

Literature Cited:

Brownell, P.H. & Polis, G.A. 2001. Scorpion Biology and Research. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Cloudsley-Thompson, J.L. 1990. Scorpions in mythology, folklore, and history. In: Polis, G.A. (Ed.) The Biology of Scorpions. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 462–485.

Fet, V. & Selden, P.A. (Eds.) 2001. Scorpions 2001. In Memoriam Gary A. Polis. British Arachnological Society, Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire, UK.

Fet, V. & Soleglad, M.E. 2005. Contributions to scorpion systematics. I. On recent changes in high-level taxonomy. Euscorpius 31: 1–13.

Fet, V., Sissom, W.D., Lowe, G. & Braunwalder, M.E. 2000. Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758–1998). The New York Entomological Society, New York.

Kovařík, F. 2001. Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758–1998) by V. Fet, W.D. Sissom, G. Lowe, & M. Braunwalder (New York Entomological Society, 2000: 690 pp.) Discussion and supplement for 1999 and part of 2000. Serket 7: 78–93.

Kovařík, F. 2002. Co nového u štírů v roce 2000. Akvárium Terárium 45: 55–61. [in Czech]

Kraepelin, K. 1899. Scorpiones und Pedipalpi. In: Dahl, F. (Ed.) Das Tierreich. R. Friedländer & Sohn Verlag, Berlin,   8: 1–265.

Lourenço, W.R. 2000. Panbiogéographie, les familles des scorpions et leur répartition géographique. Biogeographica 76: 21–39.

Prendini, L. 2000. Phylogeny and classification of the Superfamily Scorpionoidea Latreille 1802 (Chelicerata, Scorpiones): An exemplar approach. Cladistics 16: 1–78.

Prendini, L. & Wheeler, W.C. 2005. Scorpion higher phylogeny and classification, taxonomic anarchy, and standards for peer review in online publishing. Cladistics 21: 446–494.

Soleglad, M.E. & Fet, V. 2003. High-level systematics and phylogeny of the extant scorpions (Scorpiones: Orthosterni). Euscorpius 11: 1–175.

Soleglad, M.E. & Sissom, W.D. 2001. Phylogeny of the family Euscorpiidae Laurie, 1896: A major revision. In: Fet, V. & Selden, P.A. (Eds.) Scorpions 2001. In Memoriam Gary A. Polis. British Arachnological Society, Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire, UK, 25–111.

Soleglad, M.E., Fet, V. & Kovařík, F. 2005. The systematic position of the scorpion genera Heteroscorpion Birula, 1903 and Urodacus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Scorpionoidea). Euscorpius 20: 1–38.


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