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Research Article

Pedipalps and Venom Vesicle Anomalies in Two Families of Scorpions (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae, Buthidae) from Iran

E. Jahanifard, Sh. Navidpour and B. Masihipour
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The developmental anomalies are reported in this study. The first and second abnormally are presented in right pedipalps of Paraorthochirus and Orthochirus (Buthidae) while Paraorthochirus pedipalp just includes coxa, trochanter and without other parts (femur, patella, movable and fixed finger). The right pedipalp of Orthochirus specimen has abnormally too; it has all parts of pedipalp except complete fixed finger. In both of scorpions, the left pedipalp is normal. Another case is present in venom vesicle of Hemiscourpius (Hemiscorpiidae). Pictures and morphometric measurements for three specimens are given.

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  How to cite this article:

E. Jahanifard, Sh. Navidpour and B. Masihipour, 2008. Pedipalps and Venom Vesicle Anomalies in Two Families of Scorpions (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae, Buthidae) from Iran. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11: 309-311.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2008.309.311



There are same reports on anomalies from families Buthidae, Euscorpiidae, Bothriuridae, Chactidae, Hemiscorpiidae, Iuridae, Scorpionidae, Chaerilidae, Liocheliidae (Mattoni, 2005).

Body duplication has been most abnormality in the family Buthidae and Brauer (1917) documented duplication of prosoma in embryo of Euscorpius carpathicus. Vachon (1972) have been illustrated an adult Isomertus maculates with partial duplication of the venom vesicle. Duplication metasomas and telson have been reported in Centruroides vittatus by Sissom (1995). Another cases for this abnormality have been observed in Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing by Williams (1971) and Hottentotta (Buthotus) alticola (Pocock) by Vachon and Serfaty (1950). The first duplication of anterior body parts in butids was observed in Tityous cambridgei Pocock from Belem state of Para, Brazil, this abnormally was included in two carapaces each with a complete set of eyes and four pedipalps (Matthiesen, 1979). Karatas and Colak (2005) demonstrated an abnormal structure on telson of Leiurus quiquestriatus (Ehrenberg).

For other anomalies related to pedipalp, Graham (2006) described malformed pedipalp finger dentition in Superstitionia donensis. Duplication of pedipalp segments in the scorpion Androctonus crassicauda was identified by Karatas and Kurtullu (2006).

Leg malformations of four buthid species were recorded by Armas (1977), as well as tergal and sexual anomalies in Bothriurid scorpions by Mattoni (2005).

Teruel (2004) was demonstrated pedipalp chela compression of females in some scorpions families like scorpionidae, Buthidae, Iuridae, Euscorpiidae, Chactidae.

There are the first records for developmental anomalies of venom vesicle on Hemiscorpius and loseing some parts of pedipalps on Paraorthochirus and Orthochirus scorpions.


The specimens were collected (night catch method using by UV light) from Khoozestan province South-West of Iran. We found three scorpions with abnormally in venom vesicle and pedipalp while examining scorpion samples.

The scorpions were preserved in 70% ethanol and deposited in the scorpion collection at the Reference Lab of Scorpion in Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute of Khoozestan, Iran.


Khoozestan province is in south-west of Iran. There are around of 12 genera and 20 species of scorpions in this province that this diversity is relate to different weather and plants, we maybe find more new genera and species in this province.

Pedipalp malformations: Two specimens with anomaly in pedipalp were identified as Paraorthochirus and Orthochirus genera (Fig. 1, 2). The adult female

Fig. 1:
Anomaly in right pedipalp of Paraorthochirus specimen

Fig. 2:
Right pedipalp abnormally in Orthochirus specimen

Paraorthochirus and female Orthochirus specimens were collected from Shadegan (Southern part of Khoozestan province). Morphometric measurements for Paraorthochirus are: total length 23.33 mm, carapace length/width 2.85/3.09 mm, mesosoma length 8.20 mm, metasoma (segment I) length/width 2.11/2.27 mm, metasoma (segment V) length/width 2.6/2.58 mm and telson length 2.26 mm and for Orthochirus follow measurements were determined: total length 25.94 mm, carapace length/width 3.56/3.06 mm, mesosoma length 8.79 mm, metasoma (segment I) length/width 2.94/2.87 mm, metasoma (segment V) length/width 3.28/2.80 mm and telson length 2.75 mm. Other morphometric measurements related to femur, patella and chela padipalps for two genera are shown in Table 1 and 2.

The right pedipalp of Paraorthochirus just has coxa and trochanter that it was ended to an appendage and the rest of segments are lost, while the left pedipalp (including coxa, trochanter, femur, patella and chela) is normal and has important characters like trichobotria, that is the one essential character to identify scorpion genera related to

Table 1:
Measurements (mm) of left and right pedipalps of malformed Paraorthochirus specimen
L: Length, W: Width

Table 2:
Measurements (mm) of left and right pedipalps of malformed Orthochirus specimen
L: Length, W: Width

Fig. 3:
Venom vesicle with abnormal structure in Hemiscorpius specimen

Orthochirus.Paraorthochirus is kind of genus that was known from Orthochirus by d2 trichobotria on dorsal surface of femur (Kovarik, 2004). Orthochirus has abnormally in right pedipalp, all segments of pedipalp like coxa, trochanter, femur, patella and manus, movable finger are present but fixed finger is short. Total of trichobotria on pedipalps are important to diagnosis in level of family and in addition to pedipalps are critical segments for starting mating behavior then these abnormally maybe affect on reproductive of scorpion.

Venom vesicle malformation: The adult male of Hemiscourpious genus collected from Baghmalek (Eastern part of Khoozestan) has abnormally in vesicle but don`t have any morphological different with other samples of Hemiscorpius. Total length of the scorpion (Fig. 3) is 25/3 mm. The complete morphometric measurement of the specimen is shown in Table 3.

Table 3:
Measurements (mm) of Hemiscorpius specimen
L: Length, W: Width

The venom vesicle has unusual structure. The shape is deformed with a lot of projection on surface it which could have been a result of regeneration of the scorpion aculeus or of an abnormal embryonic development that this deformity was described for Leiurus quinquestriatus by Karatas and Colak (2005). The cause of these malformations in venom vesicle and pedipalps are unknown for the Hemiscorpius, Paraorthochirus and Orthochirus scorpions. In venom vesicle abnormally do not seem to affect the life of the scorpion but in novel deformity of pedipalps affected mating and generation of this specimens.


This study shows that abnormality exist in scorpions like other animals. These tratogenic changes do not depend on special genus and species but anomalies affect some biological behaviors and maybe they are important to identify of some specimens.


We grateful to D. Hayader and A.A. Habibzadeh for collecting the scorpions.

1:  Armas, L.F., 1977. Anomalias en algunos Buthidae (Scorpionida) de Cuba y Brasil. Poeyana, 176: 1-6.

2:  Brauer, A., 1917. Ueber Doppelbildungen des scorpions Euscorpius carpathicus L. sitzungesberichte der koniglich preussischen. Akademie Der Wissen Schaften Zu Berlin, 1917: 208-221.

3:  Graham, M.R., 2006. Malformed pedipalp finger dentition of the scorpion Superstitionia donensis (Scorpiones: Superstitioniidae). Euscorpius, 42: 1-4.

4:  Karatas, A. and M. Colak, 2005. Scorpions of gaziantep province, Turkey (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Euscorpius, 30: 1-7.
Direct Link  |  

5:  Karatas, A. and M. Kurtullu, 2006. Duplication of pedipalp segments in the scorpion Androctonus crassicauda (Oliver, 1807) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius, 43: 1-4.

6:  Kovarik, F., 2004. Revision and taxonomic position of genera Afghanorthochirus Lourenco and Vachon, Baloorthochirus Kovarik, Butheolus Siman, Nanobuthus Pocock, Orthochiroides Kovarik, Pakiotanorthochirus Lourenco and Asian Orthochirus Kirsch, with Descriptions of twelve new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius, 16: 1-33.

7:  Matthiesen, F.A., 1979. An unusual developmental anomaly in scorpions (Scorpiones, Buthidae). J. Arachnol., 8: 281-281.

8:  Mattoni, C.I., 2005. Tergal and sexual anomalies in Bothriurid scorpions (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae). J. Arachnol., 33: 622-628.
Direct Link  |  

9:  Sissom, W.D., 1995. Report on a rare developmental anomaly in the scorpion, Centruroides vittatus (Buthidae). J. Arachnol., 23: 199-201.

10:  Teruel, R., 2004. Nuevos casos de anomalies morfologicas en escorpiones (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae, Euscorpiidae, Hemiscorpiidae, Ischnuridae, Iuridae, Buthidae, Chactidae, Chaerilidae, Diplocentridae, Scorpionidae). Revista Iberica de Aracnologia, 7: 235-238.

11:  Vachon, M. and A. Serfaty, 1950. Remarques sur les Scorpions a deux queues a propos d’un specimen anormal appartenant à l’espece Buthotus alticola (Pocock). Bull. Soc. Zool. Fr., 75: 91-96.

12:  Vachon, M., 1972. Remarques sur les scorpions appartenant au Genre Isometrus H. et E. (Buthidae). A propos de I’espece Isometrus maculates (Geer) habitant I’Ile de Paques. Cahiers du Pacifique, 16: 169-180.

13:  Williams, S.C., 1971. Developmental anomalies in the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus. Pan-Pacific Entomol., 47: 76-77.

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