Orthochirus iraqus, Kovařík & 1996, 2004

Kovařík, Baloorthochirus becvari & 1996, 2004, Revision and taxonomic position of genera Afghanorthochirus Lourenço & Vachon, Baloorthochirus Kova ík, Butheolus Simon, Nanobuthus Pocock, Orthochiroides Kova ík, Pakistanorthochirus Lourenço, and Asian Orthochirus Karsch, with descriptions of twelve new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae), Euscorpius 16, pp. 1-33 : 14-15

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Orthochirus iraqus

sp. n.

Orthochirus iraqus sp. n.

( Table 1)

? Orthochirus scrobiculosus: Khalaf, 1962: 2 ; Khalaf, 1963: 64.

Orthochirus innesi: Kovařík, 1992: 90 ; Kovařík, 1992: 184 (in part).

Orthochirus sp.: Fet & Kovařík, 2003: 180.

TYPE LOCALITY AND TYPE REPOSITORY. Iraq, Najaf Province, Ash-Shabakah (Shabachah, Shabicha ), Geophysics Brno base camp, 150 km SW of An-Najaf (Najaf), 262 m asl, 31°06'N 43°95'E ; FKCP.

TYPE MATERIAL. Iraq, Najaf Province, Ash-Shabakah (Shabachah, Shabicha ), Geophysics Brno base camp, 150 km SW of An-Najaf (Najaf), 262 m asl, 31°06'N 43°95'E, X.-XII.1978, 1♀ A (holotype) 1♂ A (paratype), leg. O. Jakeš, FKCP ; Baghdad, 1♂ E (paratype), 1929- 1932, leg. V. Kálalová, NMPC .

ETYMOLOGY. Named after the country of occurrence.

DIAGNOSIS:. Fourth and fifth metasomal segments ventrally without carinae and distinctly punctate. Dorsal surface of metasomal segments delimited by two lateral carinae, smooth, without punctae, with sparse granules only in posteromedian part of fifth segment. Ventral surface punctate, spaces among punctae smooth. Entire metasoma glabrous (very short, thin setae may issue from punctae). Mesosoma and metasoma black. Telson reddish brown. Femur and patella of legs and pedipalps reddish brown, tibiae of legs and chela of pedipalps yellow to reddish yellow. Movable fingers of pedipalps bear 7 or 8 rows of granules with internal and external granules and 4 distal granules. Tarsus of first to third legs with bristlecombs usually composed of 6 bristles, fourth legs without bristlecombs.

DESCRIPTION: The male is 23.4 mm long and the female is 30.2 mm long. Measurements of the carapace, telson, segments of the metasoma and segments of the pedipalps, and numbers of pectinal teeth are given in Table 1. The distance between trichobothria d 1 and d 3 on the femur of pedipalp is approximately equal to that between d 3 and d 4; trichobothrium e 1 is situated between d 3 and d 4.

COLORATION: The mesosoma and metasoma are black; the telson, femur, and patella of legs and pedipalps are reddish brown; and the chela of pedipalps and tibiae of legs are yellow to reddish yellow.

MESOSOMA AND CARAPACE: The mesosoma bears a median carina. Both the mesosoma and carapace are densely granulated, only the interocular area is smooth.The seventh sternite is smooth, with four smooth carinae. Pectinal teeth number 21.

METASOMA AND TELSON: The first segment bears 10 granulated carinae. On the second and third segments lateral carinae are absent in the female and inconspicuous in the male. The fourth and fifth segments bear dorsolateral and ventralolateral carinae in the male; the female lacks ventralolateral carinae on the fourth segment and has them shortened on the fifth segment. All segments are smooth and punctate. Punctation on the first three segments is almost indiscernible in the males but conspicuous in the female; on the fourth and fifth segments it is better developed in the males, but not as well as in the female. Spaces among punctae are smooth. The dorsal surface of all segments is smooth and well delimited by conspicuous dorsolateral carinae. The fifth segment bears several mesially situated granules. The entire metasoma and telson are glabrous. The telson is punctate and lacks granules.

PEDIPALPS: The femur of pedipalp has four granulated carinae. The patella has seven smooth carinae, and the chela has smooth carinae which may span the entire length of fixed fingers. The movable fingers of pedipalps bear 7 or 8 rows of granules which usually have internal and external granules and four distal granules.

LEGS: The femur has four granulated carinae, the patella may have five carinae, and the tibia is smooth. The tibiae bear several spines, namely on the outer side. Tarsomere I of first to third legs bears bristlecombs composed of 6 bristles, on the fourth legs lacks bristlecombs.

AFFINITIES. The described features distinguish Orthochirus iraqus sp. n. from all other species of the genus. Orthochirus iraqus sp. n. is close to Orthochirus fuscipes (Pocock, 1900) from Pakistan, which differs by features given in the key below. Another difference is in the shape of metasomal segments, which in Orthochirus iraqus sp. n. are longer and narrower.

COMMENTS. Both males lack parts of legs, pedipalp, and pecten. The female is entire, and is designated as the holotype because of its good condition.

COMMENTS ON THE LOCALITY. The collecting site in Iraq was a base camp for oil and gas exploration by Geophysics Brno, at the edge of a limestone region called Al- Hajara. The terrain was described to me (O. Jakeš, pers. comm.) as rocky, partially weathered, with numerous limestone outcrops, locally with harder and more weathering-resistant cementstone layers up to 1 m thick. The camp itself was located in a broad depression which in the rain season received water from several otherwise dry riverbeds. In the rain season it formed extensive ephemeral lakes which took 2–3 weeks to dry out. After the rain season (December through March) the locality had only sparse vegetation that by April was scorched by the sun. Climate of the area is that of a hot and dry subtropical desert with daily fluctuation of temperatures up to 20°C. From spring to fall the weather was sunny with frequent desert storms. In November a sudden temperature drop, in December–January frequent rains and thunderstorms. Water lasted for several days and depressions were filled by the above noted ephemeral ponds or lakes for 2–3 weeks. Daily temperatures reached 52°C in July and only 12°C in November and December. The highest night temperature reached 40°C in July and only 3°C in November, when at 6 a.m. they were around freezing and frequently accompanied by fog. Other species of scorpions collected at this site belonged to the typical arid desert fauna of the Middle East: Androctonus crassicauda (Olivier, 1807) , Buthacus tadmorensis (Simon, 1892) , Compsobuthus jakesi Kovařík, 2003 (see Kovařík, 2003) (all Buthidae ), Scorpio maurus Linnaeus, 1758 ( Scorpionidae ). A disjunct (introduced) population of Euscorpius italicus (Herbst, 1800) ( Euscorpiidae ) was also found in this locality (see Fet & Kovařík, 2003).


National Museum Prague














Orthochirus iraqus

Kovařík, Baloorthochirus becvari & 1996 2004

Orthochirus scrobiculosus:

KHALAF 1963: 64
KHALAF 1962: 2