First record of Liocheles nigripes Pocock, 1897 (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae) from Andhra Pradesh with a checklist of scorpions of the state
S.M. Maqsood Javed 1, Zeeshan A. Mirza 2, Rajesh V. Sanap 3 & Farida Tampal 3
1,2,3 World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF), APSO, 818, Castle Hills, Road No. 2, Near NMDC, Vijayanagar Colony, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500057, India.
The family Hemiscorpiidae consists of 12 genera and 80 species that inhabit all continents except North America with the majority of its diversity in tropical and subtropical habitats (Rein 2009). This family previously known as Ischnuridae Simon, 1879, has been renamed Liochelidae Fet & Bechly, 2000 since it was homonymous with the damselfly subfamily Ishnurinae Fraser, 1957 (Fet & Bechly 2000). Subsequently, Soleglad et al. (2005) again changed the name to Hemiscorpiidae. In India, this family is represented by three genera namely Iomachus, Liocheles and Chiromachetes. Members of the genus Liocheles resemble Iomachus but can be differentiated on the basis of the tarsi lacking a ventromedian series of small spinules between the setae (Image 4). The genus Liocheles Sundevall, 1833 is represented in India by two species L. nigripes Pocock, 1897 and L. australasiae Fabricius, 1775, both previously referred to the genus Hormurus Thorell, 1876. L. australasiae as well as L. nigripes are wide spread, the former being known from India to the western Pacific islands (Monod & Volschenk 2004; Tikader & Bastawade 1983; Sureshan et al. 2007) and the latter from parts of India, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia (Kovař’k 2000).
Liochelese nigripes was described by Pocock (1897) based on an immature specimen from Panch Mahal, Gujarat, India (Fet et al. 2000). Tikader & Bastawade (1983) reported this species from Gujarat and Rajasthan. The species has been recently sighted in Chhattisgarh and the distribution includes Udaipur (Rajasthan), Panch Mahal (Gujarat), Almora (Uttarakhand), Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Satna (Madhya Pradesh) and Kanger Valley National Park (Chhattisgarh) (Aamod Zambre pers. comm.). While conducting faunal surveys in Andhra Pradesh, several specimens of Liocheles nigripes (Images 2 & 3) were recorded from different parts (Araku Township, Hyderabad outskirts, Manchirial Town and Maredumilly) of the state (Image 1) and only two specimens were collected from Araku Township, Vishakapatnam District (18050ÕN & 79042ÕE), near the Railway station on 28 February 2009, and deposited in the collection of the Bombay Natural History Society as BNHS SC 35 and BNHS SC 36. This specimen represents the first record of this species from the state .
The present communication deals with the review of the distribution of this species and also provides an updated checklist of scorpions of Andhra Pradesh (Table 1).
The scorpion collected agrees well with the descriptions provided by Tikader & Bastawade (1983) and Kovař’k (2000), the detailed morphometry is provided in Table 2.
A review of the distribution of L. nigripes reveals it to be widespread in India as well which is supported by its occurrence in at least seven Indian states. Its occurrence in Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh is suggestive of its occurrence in Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Orissa. Furthermore, the record of Liocheles australasiae from Kerala by Sureshan et al. (2007) needs confirmation if it is indeed L. australasiae or L. nigripes which will shed light of its occurrence in Kerala and possibly Tamil Nadu.
The present record is not significant from a biogeographic point of view but it is a noteworthy contribution towards the study of Indian scorpions and their distribution on a broader scale as there is a distinct gap in distribution records of most species of scorpions and other arachnids, being merely known from either the type locality or a few scattered localities.
Rao et al. (2005) recorded seven species of scorpions whereas the recent literature review shows the state hosting at least eighteen species of scorpions (Table 1).
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