Physoctonus Mello-Leitão, 1934,

Lauren A. Esposito, Humberto Y. Yamaguti, Cláudio A. Souza, Ricardo Pinto-Da-Rocha & Lorenzo Prendini, 2017, Systematic Revision of the Neotropical Club-Tailed Scorpions, Physoctonus, Rhopalurus, and Troglorhopalurus, Revalidation of Heteroctenus, and Descriptions of Two New Genera and Three New Spec, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 415, pp. 1-134: 87-89

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Physoctonus Mello-Leitão, 1934


Physoctonus Mello-Leitão, 1934 

Figures 1View FIG. 1 EView FIG, 2View FIG. 2 DView FIG, 9View FIG, 10DView FIG, 11GView FIG, 12FView FIG, 16A, BView FIG, 17DView FIG, 20A, BView FIG, 21GView FIG, 22GView FIG, 24S –UView FIG, 48–52View FIGView FIGView FIGView FIGView FIG

Vaejovis debilis C.L. Koch, 1840  [= Physoctonus debilis (C.L. Koch, 1840)  ], type species, by subsequent designation.

Vaejovis  (part): C.L. Koch, 1840: 21, 22, pl. CCLIX, fig. 605; Kraepelin, 1899: 96.

Waejovis (lapsus): Gervais, 1844 b: 458.

Rhopalurus  (part): Borelli, 1910: 5–8, fig. 1; Mello-Campos, 1924 a: 252, 275–277; Mello- Leitão, 1932: 14, 30; Meise, 1934: 42; Prado, 1940: 26, 29, 30; Mello-Leitão, 1945: 266, 272, 273; Bücherl, 1959: 268; 1971: 327; Francke, 1977 a: 125, 127–134, figs. 1–15; Lourenço, 1982 a: 108, 133, 135–137, fig. 78; Armas, 1984: 8; Lourenço, 1986 a: 133, 135, figs. 12, 16; 1986b: 165, fig. 7; 1990: 161; 1992: 55; Kovařík, 1998: 118; Lourenço, 2002: 101, 111, figs. 225, 226; Lira-da-Silva et al., 2005: 1, 2; Teruel, 2006: 51; Ubinski et al., 2016: 122.

Physoctonus Mello-Leitão, 1934 b: 76  , 77, figs. 1–7; 1942: 129; 1945: 129–132, figs. 40, 41; Bücherl, 1967: 115; 1969: 768; Vachon, 1963: 161, 165; Stahnke, 1974: 129; Francke, 1977 a: 127; Lourenço, 2007: 359–364; Outeda-Jorge et al., 2009: 43–46; Prendini et al., 2009: 222; Brazil and Porto, 2010: 50, 57.

DIAGNOSIS: Physoctonus  differs from other rhopalurusine genera by the obsolete carapacial carinae, the asetose proximal dorsal fulcra of the pectines, the simple (nonbifurcate) prolateral pedal spur of leg I, and the oblique subrows of primary denticles on the pedipalp chela fingers flanked by small, widely spaced prolateral accessory (supernumerary) denticles and sparse retrolateral accessory denticles. It differs further from Heteroctenus, Ischnotelson  , gen. nov., Jaguajir  , gen. nov., Rhopalurus  , and Troglorhopalurus  by the small size (total length, 20–25 mm); from Heteroctenus, Ischnotelson, Jaguajir  , and Rhopalurus  by the slender pedipalp chela manus of the adult male; from Heteroctenus, Jaguajir  , and Rhopalurus  by the absence of a pecten-sternite stridulatory organ; from Heteroctenus  by the absence of depressions in the male pectinal plate and the presence of a subaculear tubercle on the telson; from Ischnotelson  by the separate (unfused) lateral ocular and central lateral carinae of the carapace and the telson vesicle not laterally compressed; and from Troglorhopalurus  by the proximal dentate margin of the chela fixed and movable fingers of the adult male emarginate, with a distinct gap evident between them, when closed.

DESCRIPTION: The following general description outlines characters common to both species of Physoctonus  (for measurements, see table 3).

Total length: Relatively small scorpions (total length, 20–25 mm).

Color: Base color pale to dark yellow (fig. 1E). Carapace immaculate except interocular surface infuscate, forming dark triangle. Tergites immaculate except for dorsomedian band of infuscation, forming longitudinal stripe on mesosoma. Coxosternal region, pectines, and sternites immaculate, pale to dark yellow. Metasomal segments I –III, dorsal surfaces immaculate, yellow, similar color as carapace and tergites, segments IV and V, dorsal surfaces darker than preceding segments; I –III, ventral surfaces slightly darker than dorsal surfaces, IV and V noticeably darker than I –III, V darker than IV; I –IV each with dark ventromedian band of infuscation. Telson vesicle yellow, similar to metasomal segment V, aculeus almost black. Chelicerae, pedipalps, and legs base color yellow, similar to tergites, with reticulate infuscation; chela fingers dark brown.

Chelicerae: Base, dorsal surface with medial transverse row of well-developed tubercles.

Carapace: Median ocular tubercle low (fig. 16A, B); two median ocelli; three pairs of lateral macroocelli; one pair of lateral microocelli. Anteromedian, median ocular, and posteromedian sulci present, forming single, almost continuous, longitudinal sulcus. Carinae obsolete, finely granular, and barely distinguishable from surface granulation; lateral ocular and anterior central submedian carinae separate (unfused); central lateral and posterior central submedian carinae fused.

Pedipalps: Pedipalp femur retrolateral accessory carinae present. Pedipalp chela manus of adult male slender, proximal dentate margins of fixed and movable fingers slightly curved proximally (fixed finger curved dorsally, movable finger curved ventrally), such that proximal dentate margin emarginate, slight gap present between fingers proximally, when closed (fig. 48A, C), manus of female not incrassate, fixed and movable fingers not curved proximally, such that proximal dentate margin sublinear, little or no gap present between them proximally, when closed (fig. 48B); manus, proventral carina absent, promedian carina present; fixed and movable fingers, median denticle rows each comprising eight oblique subrows of primary denticles flanked by small, widely spaced prolateral accessory (supernumerary) denticles and sparse retrolateral accessory denticles; movable finger without proximal lobe ( fig. 17View FIG. 17 D). Pedipalps orthobothriotaxic Type A, α configuration; femur with five dorsal trichobothria, trichobothrium d 2 situated on prolateral surface; patella trichobothrium d 3 situated retrolateral to dorsomedian carina; chela fixed finger trichobothrium db proximal to or aligned with trichobothrium et.

Legs: Legs III and IV, tibial spurs absent; I and II, basitarsi each with simple prolateral pedal spur; telotarsi each with distinct pro- and retroventral rows of fine, acuminate macrosetae.

Pectines: Pectinal plate without depressions (male), anterior margin with sulcus (fig. 20A, B). Pectines not proximally expanded; proximal dorsal fulcra asetose; pectinal teeth almost straight, slightly curved laterally, proximal teeth, dorsal surfaces without striations but covered with small denticles, dorsobasal surfaces without macrosetae; pectinal sensillae short and blunt (figs. 11G, 12F).

Mesosoma: Tergites V –VII slightly wider than than I –IV; I –VI unicarinate, dorsosubmedian carinae absent, dorsomedian carina reduced to posterior half on I –VI, complete on V and VI. Tergite VII pentacarinate, dorsomedian carina complete (fig. 51). Sternites smooth, carinae absent or obsolete; sternite III, lateral margins not forming smooth, raised carina, ventromedian carina not elevated anteriorly, ventrosubmedian surfaces not forming paired depressions, smooth; respiratory spiracles (stigmata) width less than 5× length (fig. 10E).

Metasoma: Metasoma slender, increasing slightly in width posteriorly, segment V only slightly wider than I in adult male, I and V similar width in adult female (figs. 49, 50). Segments I –III each with 10 distinct, granular carinae, IV with eight distinct, granular carinae, V with five distinct, granular carinae; dorsosubmedian carinae obsolete, reduced to rows of granules on dorsal surfaces of segments I –IV, more pronounced on segment I; dorsolateral carinae complete on segments I –IV, and terminating in slightly larger, subspiniform granules posteriorly on II –IV, absent on V; lateral supramedian carinae complete on segments I –V; lateral inframedian carinae complete on segments I –III, complete but obsolete on IV, and absent on V; ventrosubmedian carinae complete on segments I –IV, absent on V; ventromedian carina absent on segments I –IV, complete on V. Intercarinal surfaces finely and densely granular on lateral and ventral surfaces of segments I –V and dorsal surfaces of I –III.

Telson: Vesicle oval, not laterally compressed, narrower than metasoma V; anterodorsal lateral lobes prominent; lateral and ventral surfaces granular, pentacarinate with distinct ventromedian carina; subaculear tubercle vestigial.

Hemispermatophore: Flagelliform; flagellum, elongate and narrow (fig. 24S –U); trunk concave; three lobules, ental (LI), ectal (LE), and basal (LB); LI inclined to ental side of trunk and continuous to flagellar base; flagellar base wide, ca. two thirds width of trunk; LE length ca. half that of LI, spiniform with curved tip; LB base wide and slightly elongate, apex thin and curved.

Cytogenetics: The diploid chromosome number of P. debilis  ( table 2) is 2n = 26 ( Ubinski et al., 2016).

INCLUDED SPECIES: Physoctonus debilis (C.L. Koch, 1840)  ; Physoctonus striatus  , sp. nov.

DISTRIBUTION: Physoctonus  is endemic to northeastern Brazilian, and has been recorded in the states of Bahía, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, and Piauí (fig. 9).

ECOLOGY: The two species of Physoctonus  inhabit the semiarid Brazilian caatinga and cerrado (fig. 2D). These small, lapidicolous scorpions have been collected under stones and with UV light detection at night.

REMARKS: Physoctonus  , created to accommodate Physoctonus physurus Mello-Leitão, 1934  , was synonymized with Rhopalurus  when Francke (1977 a) synonymized P. physurus  with Rhopalurus debilis  . Physoctonus  was later revalidated by Lourenço (2002). Its validity was upheld by the analyses of Esposito et al. (in review), which consistently recovered the monophyly of its two species as distinct from the species of Rhopalurus  (fig. 13), and the cytogenetic study of Ubinski et al. (2016) which identified a diploid chromosome number of 2n = 26 for R. debilis  ( table 2).












Physoctonus Mello-Leitão, 1934

Lauren A. Esposito, Humberto Y. Yamaguti, Cláudio A. Souza, Ricardo Pinto-Da-Rocha & Lorenzo Prendini 2017


Lauren A. Esposito & Humberto Y. Yamaguti & Cláudio A. Souza & Ricardo Pinto-Da-Rocha & Lorenzo Prendini 2017

Physoctonus Mello-Leitão, 1934 b: 76

Mello-Leitao 1934: 76

Vaejovis debilis C.L. Koch, 1840

C. L. Koch 1840

Physoctonus debilis

C.L. Koch 1840


C. L. Koch 1836