Stenotopic Hormurus Thorell, 1876 scorpions from the monsoon ecosystems of northern Australia, with a discussion on the evolution of burrowing behaviour in Hormuridae Laurie, 1896

Lionel Monod, Mark S. Harvey, Lorenzo Prendini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Three new species from the semi-arid ecosystems of Queensland, Australia, are described in the present contribution: Hormurus ischnoryctes n. spec., Hormurus macrochela n. spec., Hormurus ochyroscapter n. spec. Additionally, the discovery of the first female specimens of Hormurus longimanus (Locket, 1995) from the Northern Territory of Australia, as well as additional diagnostic characters and locality records for this species, warranted its redescription. Hormurus longimanus (Locket, 1995) is reinstated as the valid name for this species and the replacement name, Liocheles extensus Locket, 1997 placed in synonymy. Unlike most species of Hormurus and of the closely related genera, Hormiops Fage, 1933 and Liocheles Sundevall, 1883, which inhabit humid tropical ecosystems (evergreen forests), the four Australian species treated here inhabit seasonally dry (monsoon) habitats, and two of these (H. ischnoryctes and H. ochyroscapter) are the first fossorial hormurids to be recorded in Australia, and the first fossorial species of Hormurus to be described. The four species treated here appear to be relicts of an old hygrophilous lineage that sustained a major adaptive radiation during the late Tertiary aridification of the continent. Endemism and conservation issues concerning these phylogenetically valuable species are discussed in the context of high sensitivity to habitat disturbance and high risk of extinction of stenotopic species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-346
Number of pages66
JournalRevue Suisse de Zoologie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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