The discovery that scorpions fluoresce under ultra-violet light marked a revolution in our knowledge of scorpion diversity. Before then, only large, abundant, or commonly encountered scorpions were well-known. However, following this discovery, scorpions began to accumulate in biodiversity collections, and many new scorpion species were described worldwide. In fact, many new scorpion species are still being discovered in places as seemingly well-studied as the United States!
Although at first glance, scorpions may appear to look the same, upon closer inspection one will notice differences in color, shape, size and body proportions among different species. In addition to examining the evolutionary relationships between different species using scorpion DNA, scorpiologists (yes, that is a real job) use these differences to identify and describe different species. Recently, Dr. Robert W. Bryson Jr. (University of Washington) discovered a new scorpion species in the Santa Catalina Mountains, less than 10 miles from metropolitan Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Mr. Richard F. Ayrey and I were lucky enough to get the chance to describe this new species. We named the new scorpion Vaejovis brysoni in honor of our colleague who found and collected the specimens we used to describe the new species. Our findings were recently published in the open access journal ZooKeys (PDF). We were also fortunate enough to be given a chance to talk about this discovery on Arizona Science Illustrated ( a science program which airs on PBS stations in Arizona; see full interview here Researchers Find New Scorpion Species in Catalinas).
New scorpion species (Vaejovis brysoni) that was discovered in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a new and rare species of scorpion (Euscorpius croaticus) was described from the Velebit Mountains in Croatia. Dr. Matthew R. Graham, Gergin Blagoev, Natalia Ivanova, Dr. Victor Fet and I described this new species. Our species description was recently published in Revista Ibérica de Arachnología (PDF).