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: 111-114
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Rhopalurus ochoai , sp. nov.
Rhopalurus caribensis: Rojas-Runjaic and Becerra, 2008: 465 , fig. 1 (misidentification: records from Zulia, Venezuela); Prendini et al., 2009: 222 (misidentification: records from Zulia, Venezuela), 223; Teruel and Roncallo, 2010: 4, 11, fig. 11 (misidentification: records from Zulia, Venezuela).
TYPE MATERIAL: VENEZUELA: Holotype ♂ (AMNH), Zulia: Município Jesus Enrique Lozada: San Agustín, 10°45.841′N 71°44.108′W, 44 m, 28.ix.2008, J.A. Ochoa and S.E. Bazo Abreu, dry forest. Paratypes: Trujillo: Município Motatan: San Miguel, ca. Represa Agua Viva, 09°30.225′N 70°34.914′W, 195 m, 23.ix.2008, J.A. Ochoa and S.E. Bazo Abreu, dry forest, 1 ♂, 1 ♀ (AMNH), 1 subad. ♀, 1 juv. ♀ (AMCC [LP 9199]). Município Valera: Valera region, N, x.2005, S.E. Bazo Abreu, 2 ♀ (AMCC [LP 5504, 5505]). Zulia: Município Jesus Enrique Lozada: 1 ♂, 2 ♀, 1 subad. ♀ (AMNH), 1 subad. ♀ (AMCC [LP 9207]), same data as holotype.
DIAGNOSIS: Rhopalurus ochoai , sp. nov., is most closely related to R. caribensis . It resembles R. caribensis and typical populations of R. laticauda from the northwestern part of the distribution, in its predominantly pale yellow- tan color, with light infuscation on the carapace and tergites, and metasomal segment V and telson slightly darker than the preceding segments. However, R. ochoai can be consistently differentiated from R. caribensis and R. laticauda by the color pattern on the ventral surface of the metasoma. Whereas R. ochoai displays two narrow ventrosubmedian stripes of pigmentation along the ventral surface, three distinct, narrow stripes (a ventromedian stripe flanked on either side by a ventrosubmedian stripe) are present in R. caribensis , and all three stripes are fused into a single, broad band of pigmentation (more pronounced in populations from the southeast of the distribution) in R. laticauda . As with R. caribensis , R. ochoai differs further from populations of R. laticauda from the southeastern part of the distribution (previously referable to R. amazonicus ) in the considerably lighter mesosoma, metasoma V, and telson. Additionally, the subaculear tubercle of the telson is subspinoid in R. ochoai , small and blunt in R. laticauda , and vestigial in R. caribensis .
ETYMOLOGY: This species name is a patronym, honoring the Peruvian arachnologist, José Antonio Ochoa Camara, who collected most of the type specimens, for his contributions to the study of scorpions.
DESCRIPTION: The following description is based on the type material (for measurements, see table 4). Only characters that differ from the generic description are noted.
Total length: Medium-sized, compact scorpions (total length, 41–49 mm).
Color: Predominantly tan-yellow with pedipalp chela manus, metasomal segment V and telson slightly darker, khaki yellow. Chelicerae with reticulate infuscation. Carapace, pedipalp chela fingers, tergites, metasomal segment V, and telson lightly infuscate. Metasomal segments I – IV, ventral surfaces each with two narrow ventrosubmedian stripes of pigmentation.
Carapace: Shape pentagonal, emarginate anteriorly; posterior width greater than anterior width. Median ocular tubercle raised, with pair of ocelli. Three pairs of lateral macroocelli, one pair of lateral microocelli, situated between the second and third macroocelli. Anteromedian, median ocular and posteromedian sulci well developed, forming single, almost continuous longitudinal sulcus; posteromedian sulcus moderately deep, posterolateral sulci wide, shallow depressions. Intercarinal surfaces coarsely and densely granular; lateral ocular and anterior central submedian carinae indistinct, finely granular and separate (unfused); central lateral and posterior central submedian carinae distinct, finely granular, and fused into single slightly oblique carina, extending almost two thirds the length of carapace. Anterior margin with several macrosetae, remaining surfaces asetose.
Pedipalps: Chela manus retrodorsal carina distinct, granular; ventromedian carina obsolete, granular; intercarinal surfaces granular.
Legs: Legs III and IV, tibial spurs absent; I –IV, surfaces carinate; basitarsi each with bifurcate prolateral pedal spur; telotarsi each with irregular tufts of fine, acuminate macrosetae.
Sternum: Subtriangular. Median longitudinal sulcus shallow anteriorly, deep, narrow posteriorly.
Genital operculum: Genital opercula suboval, completely divided longitudinally; genital papillae present (♂), absent (♀).
Pectines: Pectinal plate rectangular, without depressions (male), anterior margin with sulcus medially. Tooth count, 20–25 (♂), 21–23 (♀).
Mesosoma: Tergites granular, each with median carina, tergite VII pentacarinate. Sternite III with two finely granular lateral depressions and median surface raised, setose; IV –VI granular posterolaterally; VII granular with four carinae.
Metasoma: Metasoma robust, increasing in width posteriorly, segment V ca. 2× width of segment I in adult male, only slightly wider than I in adult female (fig. 54D). Ventral intercarinal surfaces finely and sparsely granular on segments I and II, coarsely and densely granular on III and IV (fig. 55D).
Telson: Vesicle width ca. half to one third the width of metasomal segment V (males); lateral and ventral surfaces granular with obsolete ventromedian carina; subaculear tubercle small, subspinoid.
Sexual dimorphism: Adult males and females differ as follows. Intercarinal surfaces of the carapace, tergites, metasoma, and pedipalps are more coarsely and densely granular in males than females. The pedipalp chela manus of males is incrassate and the fingers curved proximally (fixed finger curved dorsally, movable finger curved ventrally), such that only the distal portion of the fingers connect and a distinctive gap is present between them proximally, when closed (fig. 52D). The chela manus of females is not incrassate and the fingers are not curved proximally, such that the fingers connect along most of their length and little to no gap is present between them proximally, when closed (fig. 53D). The metasomal segments are proportionally broader in males, exaggerating the posterior increase in metasomal width, compared to females. In some populations, infuscation of the metasoma, especially segment V, the telson, and the ventral carinae of segments I –IV, is more intense in females.
DISTRIBUTION: Rhopalurus ochoai , sp. nov., appears to be restricted to northwestern Venezuela, where it has been recorded around Lake Maracaibo in the states of Trujillo and Zulia. The known records fall within an area bordered by the Cordillera de Perijá to the west and the Cordillera de Mérida to the south and east (fig. 6). Records of R. caribensis reported from the Venezuelan state of Zulia ( Rojas-Runjaic and Becerra, 2008; Teruel and Roncallo, 2008, 2010; Prendini et al., 2009) are referable to R. ochoai .
ECOLOGY: Specimens for which data are available were collected with UV light detection at night in dry forest. The habitat and habitus are consistent with the lapidicolous ecomorphotype ( Prendini, 2001 b).
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