A new Euscorpius species (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from a Dinaric cave - the first record of troglobite scorpion in European fauna

Ivo Karaman


A troglobite, Euscorpius studentium n. sp. is described based on a single immature male specimen from Skožnica, a relatively small cave in the coastal region of Montenegro. The characteristics of the new species are compared with the characteristics of an immature male specimen of troglophile Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 of the same size, from another cave in Montenegro. Some identified differences indicate evolutionary changes that are the result of the process of adaptation of troglobite scorpions for life under conditions found in underground habitats: reduced eyes, depigmentation, smooth teguments with reduced granulation and tubercles, elongated sharp and thin ungues of the legs and narrowed body. The settlement of limestone caves by large troglobionts such as scorpions follows karstification processes. Lithophilic forms that evolved under these conditions possess the necessary climbing abilities that are prerequisite for settlement of hypogean habitats. Uncontrolled visits by tourists in recent years have seriously threatened the fauna of Skožnica cave, including this new and first recognized troglobite scorpion species among European fauna.

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