New Scorpion Species Discovered in Northeastern California

Posted on April 26, 2016

Pseudouroctonus maidu scorpion

Scientists have discovered and named a previously unknown species of scorpion in northeastern California. The scorpion is only the fourth new species of scorpion to be described from California in the past twenty years.

Researchers Warren Savary and Rob Bryson discovered the scorpion in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northeastern California. It is related to several species in the genus Pseudouroctonus and has been given the name Pseudouroctonus maidu after the Maidu people of northern California.

The researchers say the new species of vaejovid scorpion is most similar to Pseudouroctonus iviei and Pseudouroctonus glimmei. The adult female holotype pictured above is about 40 millimeters long (1.6 inches).

The lead author, Warren Savary, is a field associate of the California Academy of Sciences Savary says in the announcement, "California is home to a remarkable variety of scorpions. However, the more I study them, the more I realize that we've only just scratched the surface. A lot of scorpion diversity remains to be described."

Bryson says, "Scorpions have been around for a long time - over 400 million years - and many are quite similar in general appearance. We can use DNA sequences to help us piece together how scorpions have evolved and how they are related. Despite looking similar, DNA often reveals that even assumed close relatives can be quite divergent."

The researchers say they are busy working on publishing descriptions of several other new species of scorpions also from California. A research paper on Pseudouroctonus maidu was published here in the journal, ZooKeys.

Photo: Dr. Robert Bryson Jr.