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FAMILY VAEJOVIDAEGenus ParavaejovisGenus ParuroctonusGenus PseudouroctonusGenus SerradigitusGenus Smeringerus

Genus SyntropisGenus UroctonitesGenus UroctonusGenus VaejovisGenus Vejovoidus

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Genus Smeringurus Haradon 1983 


Paruroctonus (Smeringurus) Haradon, 1983: 255-256; type species Paruroctonus vachoni Stahnke, 1961.


Paruroctonus (Smeringurus): Haradon, 1985: 20.

Smeringurus: Stockwell, 1992: 409, 416, 419, fig. 59-60; Kovarνk, 1998: 146; Sissom, 2000:524; Soleglad & Fet, 2003a: 15, 31, 33, 36, 163, 164, figs. 66, 79, 80, 111, D-5, Tabs. 3, 4, 9.


Prosoma. – Anterior carapacial margin straight with subtle median notch.

Mesosoma. – Pectinal tooth counts 28-40 in males, 20-29 in females. All female pectinal teeth similar in size and shape, and with sensorial areas.

Metasoma. – Dorsal carinae of segments I-IV with even granulation, rounded off distally. Ventral submedian carinae of segments I-IV paired, moderately to strongly developed and crenulate. Ventral intercarinal spaces with accessory setae. Segment V with linear ventromedian carina (i.e., not bifurcated distally).

Chelicerae. – Ventral margin of the cheliceral movable finger with three to eight denticles or crenulations; fixed finger with one to four ventral denticles. Serrula of movable finger absent.

Pedipalps. – Patella: Inner face with basal tubercles moderately developed; inner longitudinal carina present, usually consisting of several granules. Chelal carinae: All eight pedipalpal carinae well developed, distinctly granular. Chela dentition: Terminal denticles moderate, subconical. Chela fixed finger with primary denticle row divided into six subrows of denticles, these are flanked by six inner accessory denticles. Chela movable finger with primary denticle row divided into six subrows of denticles, these flanked by seven inner accessory denticles. Denticles of denticle row peglike, subserrate.

Trichobothrial Pattern. Patella with two ventral trichobothria along ventroexternal carina (the third ventral trichobothrium is positioned on the external face). Chela with four ventral (V) trichobothria. Chelal trichobothria ib positioned at base of fixed finger or displaced slightly from base. Chela finger trichobothrium est about equidistant between et and esb.

Legs. – Basitarsi and often telotarsi with setal combs. Telotarsi ventrally with a median row of small spinules that are flanked distally by one pair of slightly larger spinules. Ventromedian spinule row flanked laterally by setae.

Hemispermatophore. – No published observations exist.

Included species. – S. mesaensis (Stahnke, 1957); S. vachoni (Stahnke, 1961) with two subspecies, S. v. vachoni (Stahnke, 1961) and S. v. immanis (Soleglad, 1972); S. grandis (Williams, 1970); S. aridus (Soleglad, 1972).

Similar taxa. – See Vejovoidus Stahnke, Paravaejovis Williams, and Paruroctonus Werner.

Remarks. - Haradon’s (1983) revision of this fossorial group, removed from Paruroctonus by Stockwell (1992), contains a key for identification of its 4 species (one with two subspecies). Smeringurus mesaensis is the best-studied scorpion in the world, many facets of its biology having been covered (Brownell 1977, 1984; Brownell & Farley 1979a, 1979b, 1979c; Polis 1979, 1980a, 1980b, 1986, 1988; Polis & Farley 1979a, 1979b, 1980; Polis & McCormick 1986, 1987; Polis et al. 1986; Gaffin & Brownell 1992; Gaffin et al. 1992). Unlike other members of the genus, it is psammophilous, and restricted to shifting dune systems. Smeringurus aridus and S. vachoni inhabit packed, gravelly soils, whereas S. grandis is associated with soils accumulating in rocky volcanic habitats.

Literature Cited:

Brownell, P.H. 1977. Compressional and surface waves in sand: Used by desert scorpions to locate prey. Science 197: 479–482.

Brownell, P.H. 1984. Prey detection by the sand scorpion. Scientific American 251: 86–97.

Brownell, P.H. & Farley, R.D. 1979a. Prey-localizing behaviour of the nocturnal desert scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis: Orientation to substrate vibrations. Animal Behaviour 27: 185–193.

Brownell, P.H. & Farley, R.D. 1979b. Detection of vibration in sand by tarsal sense organs of the nocturnal scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis. Journal of Comparative Physiology 131A:23–30.

Brownell, P.H. & Farley, R.D. 1979c. Orientation to vibration in sand by the nocturnal scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis: Mechanism of target localization. Journal of Comparative Physiology 131A: 31–38.

Gaffin, D.D. & Brownell, P.H. 1992. Evidence of chemical signaling in the sand scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae). Ethology 91: 59–69.

Gaffin, D.D., Wennstrom K.L. & Brownell, P.H. 1992. Water detection in the desert sand scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpionida, Vaejovidae). Journal of Comparative Physiology 170A: 623–629.

Haradon, R.M. 1983. Smeringurus, a new subgenus of Paruroctonus Werner (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). Journal of Arachnology 11: 251–270.

Polis, G.A. 1979. Prey and feeding phenology of the desert sand scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpionida, Vaejovidae). Journal of Zoology, London 188: 333–346.

Polis, G.A. 1980a. The effect of cannibalism on the demography and activity of a natural population of desert scorpions. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 7: 25–35.

Polis, G.A. 1980b. Seasonal patterns and age-specific variation in the surface activity of a population of desert scorpions in relation to environmental factors. Journal of Animal Ecology 49: 1–18.

Polis, G.A. 1986. Sexual variation in the feeding ecology of the scorpion Paruroctonus mesaensis. In: Eberhard, W.G., Lubin, Y.D. & Robinson, B.C. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Arachnology, Panama 1983. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 193–196.

Polis, G.A. 1988. Foraging and evolutionary responses of desert scorpions to harsh environmental periods of food stress. Journal of Arid Environments 14: 123–134.

Polis, G.A. & Farley, R.D. 1979a. Behavior and ecology of mating in the cannibalistic scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis Stahnke (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae). Journal of Arachnology 7: 33–46.

Polis, G.A. & Farley, R.D. 1979b. Characteristics and environmental determinants of natality, growth and maturity in a natural population of the desert scorpion, Paruroctonus mesaensis (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae). Journal of Zoology, London 187:  517–542.

Polis, G.A. & Farley, R.D. 1980. Population biology of a desert scorpion: Survivorship, microhabitat, and the evolution of a life history strategy. Ecology 61: 620–629.

Polis, G.A. & McCormick, S.J. 1986. Patterns of resource use and age structure among a guild of desert scorpions. Journal of Animal Ecology 55: 59–73.

Polis, G.A. & McCormick, S.J. 1987. Intraguild predation and competition among desert scorpions. Ecology 68: 332–343.

Polis, G.A., Myers, C.A. & Quinlan, M.A. 1986. Burrowing biology and spatial distribution of desert scorpions. Journal of Arid Environments 10: 137–146.

Stockwell, S.A. 1992. Systematic observations on North American Scorpionida with a key and checklist of the families and genera. Journal of Medical Entomology 29:   407–422. 


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