Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

    New venomous species with eight legs and ‘scalloped pincers’ is discovered in California

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    Scientists have discovered a new species of venomous scorpion in the California desert.

    Now called the ‘Tulare Basin scorpion,’ the new species has been found across hundreds of miles of formidable desert northwest of Los Angeles.

    First photographed among roadside industrial trash, the 2.1-inch-long scorpion has survived harsh, toxic conditions amid oil drilling and chemically intensive agriculture across the San Joaquin Desert in central California.

    However, the creature’s friendliness around these arid, desert wastelands is no indication of its lethality: one arachnid biologist who studied the new scorpion told DailyMail.com that its sting was like “being pricked by a cactus.”

    But “they were in a very unusual place,” according to the California Academy of Sciences’ internal researcher, who was the first to contact the citizen scientist who discovered this unusual scorpion.

    Scientists have secured 29 specimens of a new species of venomous scorpion, one with exceptionally thick “scalloped” claws, after a dedicated civilian researcher first discovered one in California’s San Joaquin Desert. “They were in a very unusual place,” one investigator said.

    The scorpion’s unique “highly scalloped claws” vary in shape between males and females of the species, and their yellow-orange bodies appear to tan under the desert sun.

    “I was very excited to collect them, as they were some of the first new species I found,” evolutionary biology student Prakrit Jain at UC Berkeley told the local news site. SF gate.

    Jain received advice from a fellow user of the social media app iNaturalist, an amateur reptile hunter named Brian Hind, who was baffled by the creature’s unusual claws.

    Jain, along with another young citizen scientist, Harper Forbes, and an assistant curator at the California Academy of Sciences, arachnologist lauren espositoHe set to work tracking down more examples of the Tulare Basin scorpion.

    Armed with black lights, the team searched for specimens of the new species in rugged desert terrain from Kern County to Fresno.

    Armed with black lights, the team searched the rugged desert terrain from Kern County to Fresno for more specimens of the new species.

    The scorpion, whose formal name is now Paruroctonus tulareIt turned out to be one of several related scorpions that have adapted to very specific, semi-humid or mesic regions of the California desert.

    The scorpion’s unique “highly scalloped claws” vary in shape between males and females of the species, and their yellow-orange bodies appear to tan under the desert sun.

    “Individuals from southeastern and southwestern localities are generally darker and more orange,” Jain, Esposito and their co-authors wrote in their new paper on the creature, published late last November in Zoo keys.

    The coloration, they wrote, was “quite variable, from lighter yellows and tans to darker oranges and browns.”

    Despite these visible differences, eight-legged, striped, and smooth-bodied scorpions only vary in “fewer than four single-nucleotide polymorphisms,” they said.

    While venomous, the Tulare Basin scorpion is not dangerous enough to be a threat to humans, Esposito told DailyMail.com.

    “The poison has very little effect on humans,” Esposito wrote by email.

    “At worst, it would be similar to a mild bee sting, but it is unlikely to be much different from being stung by a cactus.”

    The scorpion, photographed for the first time amid industrial waste, has survived the harsh conditions of oil drilling and chemically intensive agriculture in central California.

    The team argues that the species should “receive endangered or critically endangered species status, at least at the state level,” a process that involves helping local plants as well.

    The scorpion’s coloration, the researchers wrote, was “quite variable, ranging from lighter yellows and tans to darker oranges and browns.” Despite these visible differences, striped scorpions only vary in “less than four single nucleotide polymorphisms,” genetically

    In fact, the scorpion faces “a number of imminent threats to its survival,” most of which are “anthropogenic” or man-made, the researchers said.

    Researchers suspect that livestock grazing appears to be one of the human activities currently threatening the scorpion, because it has spread non-native plants that choke out the native grass species that younger scorpions in the Tulare Basin depend on.

    “The young appear to be dependent on them,” the researchers wrote, “and there is a possibility that the soil impacts the construction or maintenance of burrows in soft clay soils.”

    The team maintains that the species should “receive endangered or critically endangered species status, at least at the state level,” a process that will involve coming to the aid of local plants as well.

    ‘The most important step towards the conservation of [the Tulare Basin scorpion] is the preservation of plant communities with alkaline sinks by protecting remaining high-quality habitat, controlling invasive species, limiting livestock grazing, restoring abandoned lands, and combating the causes and effects of change climate,’ the researchers wrote.

    Esposito said he was “hopeful” and that the new scorpion discovery was a “great example of collecting enough data on one thing that can potentially preserve habitat for many, many other things.”

    New venomous species with eight legs and ‘scalloped pincers’ is discovered in California

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