Parabuthus abyssinicus Pocock, 1901

Kovařík, František, Lowe, Graeme, Plíšková, Jana & Šťáhlavský, František, 2016, Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part VII. Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 (Buthidae) with description of P. hamar sp. n. and P. kajibu sp. n. from Ethiopia, Euscorpius 228, pp. 1-58 : 12-19

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Parabuthus abyssinicus Pocock, 1901


Parabuthus abyssinicus Pocock, 1901

( Figs. 1–6, 8–27, 166–167, 171, 181, 193, 204, Table 1)

Parabuthus abyssinicus Pocock, 1901: 1 .

Parabuthus liosoma abyssinicus: Kraepelin, 1913: 172 ; Lamoral & Reynders, 1975: 519.

Parabuthus leiosoma abyssinicus: Fet & Lowe, 2000: 206 (complete reference list until 2000).

= Parabuthus liosoma dmitrievi Birula, 1903: 113 (syn. by Kovařík, 2003: 144).

Parabuthus liosoma dimitrivi: Borelli, 1925: 12–13 .

Parabuthus liosoma dmitrievi: Fet & Lowe, 2000: 206 (complete reference list until 2000).

Parabuthus leiosoma (in part): Fet & Lowe, 2000: 205– 206 (complete reference list until 2000); Kovařík, 2003: 144, figs 8–9; Kovařík & Whitman, 2005: 110–111.

TYPE LOCALITY AND TYPE REPOSITORY. Ethiopia, Abyssinia, Shoa (= now Ethiopia, Shewa Province); BMNH .

MATERIAL EXAMINED. Djibouti, Day , 1. VI.1990, 1♀, 14.VII.1990, 1♂ . Eritrea, route Halibaret to Keren , 15°43'31.4"N 38°36'02.7"E, 1457 m a.s.l., 1.-2.XI.2015, ( Fig. 27, Locality No. 15 EF), 1♂ 5♀ ( Figs. 4–5, 14) 4juvs, leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Keren , 15°48'33"N 38°28'14.6"E, 1328 m a.s.l., 2.XI.2015, (Locality No. 15 EG), 1♂ ( Figs. 8–13), leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; near Massawa , 15°36' 55"N 39°24'22"E, 30 m a.s.l., 8.XI.2015, (Locality No. 15 EK), 1♂ im., leg. F. Kovařík. GoogleMaps Ethiopia, Shewa Province, Nazret, 1975, 1♂ 1♀, Nazret, Melcassa , IX.2000, 1♂ 3♀, leg. V. Beneš ; Shewa Province, Awash, Metahara , 18. IV.1998, 1♀, leg. K. Werner ; Awash, near Metahara , 08°54'N 39°54'E, 960-1050 m a.s.l., 2008, 1♀ im1im.2juvs., leg. V. Trailin GoogleMaps ; Awash, near Metahara , 09°54.2'N 039°54.8'E, 960 m a.s.l., 2♂ 1♀ 1im.6juvs., XI.2010, leg. T. Mazuch GoogleMaps ; DireDawa , 09°34.647'N 041° 50.33'E, 1249 m a.s.l., 3juvs. ( Fig. 6), XI.2010, leg. T. Mazuch GoogleMaps ; Awash, Metahara env., 08°54'N 39°54'E, 960- 1050 m a.s.l., (Locality No. 11EA), 4.-5., 19.-22. VII.2011, 8♂ 3♀ 4ims.13juvs., leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Awash , 09°00'34.5"N 40°17'56.5"E, 1012 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 11 EW), 19.VII.2011, 2♂ ( Figs. 1–2, 15) 1♀ 2juvs. ( Figs. 22–23), leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; 13°36'05"N 38°08'46"E, 1412 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 12 EE), 16.XI.2012, 1im., leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; 11°43'30"N 40°58'45"E, 404 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 12EM), 20.XI.2012, 1juv., leg. F. Kovařík; 10° 24'32.7"N 40°42'29.6"E, 796 m a.s.l. (Fig. 24, Locality No. 12 EN), 23.XI.2012, 1♀ ( Figs. 17–18), leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Gewane , 10°09'38"N 40°39'45"E, 631 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 12 EO), 23.XI.2012, 1juv., leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; 10°07'13.7"N 40°38'35.1"E, 631 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 12 EP), 24.XI.2012, 1♂ ( Fig. 16), leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; 09°08'10.4"N 40°09'45.5"E, 835 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 12ER), 24.XI.2012, 2juvs., leg. F. Kovařík; Awash , 09°00'34.5"N 40°17'56.5"E, 1012 m. a.s.l. (Fig. 25, Locality No. 12 EW), 25.XI.2012, 2♀ 1juv. ( Figs. 3, 21), leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Awash, near Metahara , 08°54'N 39°54'E, 960-1050 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 12 EX), 25.XI.2012, 1♂ 1♀ 3ims.2juvs., leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Afar State, 09°08'10.4"N 40°09'45.5"E, 835 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 14 ET = 12ER), 26.-27.XI.2014, 1im. ♂ 1im. ♀ 2juvs. ( Fig. 20), leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Afar State, 09°34'06"N 40° 23'45.9"E, 601 m a.s.l. (Locality No. 14EU =12 EQ), 27.XI.2014, 2juvs., leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Oromia State, East Shewa, Fantale zone, Metahara , 08°54'N 39°54'E, 960- 1050 m a.s.l. 27.-30.XI.2014, (Locality No. 12 EX), photos only, leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Oromia State, East Shewa, Fantale zone, vulcano crater Fantale near Metahara , 09°00'56.2"N 39°51'21"E, 1050 m a.s.l. 29.XI.2014, ( Fig. 26, Locality No. 14 EV), photos only, leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Oromia State, East Shewa , 08°46'26"N 39° 37'26.5"E, 1214 m a.s.l., 30.XI.2014, (Locality No. 14 EW), 1♂, leg. F. Kovařík GoogleMaps ; Afar State, Shewa Province, 10km N Metahara, Awash N.P., 08°57'01"N 39°50'30"E, 980 m a.s.l., 5. VI.2015, 2♂ 4juvs., leg. P. Kučera. All GoogleMaps specimens are in the first authors collection ( FKCP).

DIAGNOSIS. Adults from 72 mm (male) to 115 mm (female) long. Base color of adults uniformly yellow to yellowish brown, carapace, tergites, metasomal segments IV–V and telson are dark brown to black. Pectine teeth number 38–43 in males and 33–38 in females. Stridulatory area present on dorsal surface of metasomal segments I–II in both sexes, reduced or absent on third segment in adults. Metasoma densely hirsute. Metasomal segment V of male length/ width ratio 1.50–1.72. Movable and fixed fingers of pedipalp bearing 12–13 rows of granules, all with external and internal accessory granules. Fingers of pedipalp not enlarged, movable finger length/ manus length ratio 1.54–1.72 in male. Pedipalp fingers of male with inner side of base smooth, no trace of tubercle. Manus of pedipalp of male broad, pedipalp chela length/ width ratio 2.95–3.11 in male and 4.25–4.40 in female. Pedipalp manus smooth, patella finely granulated. Tarsomere I of all legs with bristlecombs.

Hemispermatophore ( Figs. 8–12). Flagelliform, elongate and slender, trunk ca. 10 times length of capsule region. Flagellum fused to median lobe, with short ribbon-like, hyaline pars recta (pr) and much longer, opaque white pars reflecta (prf). Major distal portion of pars reflecta dilated, cylindriform. Capsule region with 3 lobes at base of flagellum. Median lobe (ml) broad, laminate, translucent, dorsal surface concave, apical margin concave with blunt, rounded apex on internal side that is slightly curled upwards (c.f. external and internal views in Figs. 11–12). Median lobe carina (mlc) robust, sclerotized, reddish in color. Basal lobe (bl) reddish, robust, hamate with sharp, fine tip, joined to a strong secondary dorsal carina (= basal lobe carina, blc) which extends to sclerotized, reddish distal margin of capsule on the internal side of the median lobe carina ( Figs. 9–10). Internal lobe (il) angulate with a pointed corner.

COMMENTS. P. abyssinicus ( Eritrea, Djibouti, central and north-east parts of Ethiopia), P. liosoma (Ehrenberg, 1828) ( Yemen and Saudi Arabia), and P. maximus Werner, 1913 ( Tanzania and Kenya) are morphologically very similar sibling species with separate areas of distribution which most authors considered as synonyms or subspecies (Birula, 1915, Kraepelin, 1913, Caporiacco, 1937, Fet & Lowe, 2000, Kovařík, 2003). An interesting question is the position of P. maximus which no author has synonymized, but most authors ignored this taxon. From Tanzania and Kenya, authors have cited P. liosoma or P. liosoma abyssinicus (Kraepelin, 1913: 171–172, Probst, 1973: 321 and others; see Lamoral & Reynders, 1975: 519–520 and Fet & Lowe, 2000: 205–207). The reason could be that Werner (1913: 172) described P. maximus from extremely large females, 140 mm long. The normal size range of this species is 80–120 mm, and males are clearly smaller.

AFFINITIES AND VARIABILITY. P. abyssinicus , P. liosoma , and P. maximus can be separated mainly according to granulation of the pedipalp patella which is smooth in P. liosoma ( Fig. 180), usually finely granulated in P. abyssinicus ( Fig. 181), and strongly granulated in P. maximus ( Fig. 182); and according to granulation and measurements of tergites and metasomal segments ( Pocock, 1901: 1, Figs. 183–185). Other differences are in color of the telson and the posterior part of metasomal segment V which are usually entirely black (the same color as metasomal segment IV) in P. abyssinicus ( Fig. 194) and P. maximus , but light in juveniles and often in young adults of P. liosoma ( Fig. 7). However, there is further variability in the color of P. abyssinicus juveniles. While studying juveniles of P. abyssinicus in the field, we were surprised by the fact that there is a great deal of color variation, in addition to morphological and morphometric variation. Several juveniles immediately after the second ecdysis have the same color as adults ( Figs. 6 and 19), whereas other juveniles still have very different color ( Figs. 20–23) after the third and even the fourth ecdysis (mainly those inhabiting dark volcanic terrain). However, in P. abyssinicus juveniles we never observed the color pattern that is standard for juveniles of P. liosoma ( Fig. 7).

COMMENTS ON LOCALITIES AND LIFE STRATEGY. In Ethiopia, Shewa Province (type locality) the first author recorded P. abyssinicus at several localities among which we describe the semi-desert region in the proximity of the town of Metahara. This area is characterized by volcanic bedrock with lava fields around a lake, and the terrain transitions to sandy semi- desert with scattered volcanic boulders further away from town (Figs. 25–26). This environment appears to be optimal for P. abyssinicus , which occurs here sympatrically with Buthus awashensis Kovařík, 2011 , Compsobuthus abyssinicus Birula, 1903 , Neobuthus awashensis Kovařík et Lowe, 2012 , and Pandinus awashensis Kovařík, 2012 .

The first author visited the Eritrean localities 15EF ( Fig. 27) and 15EG on 1–2 November 2015 and collected with a UV light. P. abyssinicus was active immediately after sunset. Near these localities, the first author recorded nighttime temperatures of 28.6 ºC shortly after sunset, dropping to 21.3 ºC (minimum temperature) before sunrise and humidity varied between 41% and 64%. In addition to P. abyssinicus at these localities the first author also recorded Compsobuthus werneri (Birula, 1908) , Hottentotta minax (L. Koch, 1875) , Pandinus magrettii Borelli, 1901 (type locality), and Scorpio sp. (the first record of the genus for Eritrea). On 8th November 2015 the first author stopped at locality 15EK and found P. abyssinicus during the day (temperature 34.5°C) under stones. In addition, at this locality was recorded Compsobuthus eritreaensis Kovařík et al, 2016 and Neobuthus eritreaensis Lowe et Kovařík, 2016 .

DISTRIBUTION. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia,? Somaliland,? Sudan.


Mykotektet, National Veterinary Institute


Royal British Columbia Museum - Herbarium


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


The Culture Collection of Extremophilic Fungi


East Texas State University














Parabuthus abyssinicus Pocock, 1901

Kovařík, František, Lowe, Graeme, Plíšková, Jana & Šťáhlavský, František 2016

Parabuthus abyssinicus

POCOCK 1901: 1