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New Species of Scorpion Discovered near Tucson, Arizona

Feb 20, 2013 08:27 AM EST
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A new species of scorpion has been discovered in the Santa Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona.

The new species belongs to the group of vorhiesi and is named Vaejovis brysoni, after Robert Bryson Jr., who found the scorpion in the isolated mountains that overlook the city of Tucson, Arizona.

Bryson, a researcher from the University of Washington, was looking for a completely different animal when he discovered the new scorpion species. He sent the specimen to the authors, who identified it as a new species. Vaejovis brysoni is the second species of scorpion that belongs to the same vorhiesi group in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The finding is the first documented case of two vorhiesi group species inhabiting the same mountains as their home.

For more than 50 years, only four species of mountain scorpions have been discovered in the state of Arizona. But in the last six years, the number of new species has more than doubled, with a total of 10 species now known. All these species belong to the same group. The discoveries were made in a desert known as Sky Islands, where the isolated mountains are located.

The Sky Islands region is one of the most biologically diverse areas of North America, where several species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects have been found more than in any other place in the country, according to a website AZWild.org.

"This latest new scorpion is a prime example of the amazing diversity of life still to be discovered, right here in 21st century America," said Richard F. Ayrey, one of the co-authors of the study.

The details of the study, "A new Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836, the second known vorhiesi group species from the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona", appear in the journal Zookeys. 

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