Hi Folks

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
I specialise in Australian Scorpions. I have my own forum on Aussie scorpions, but am always happy to help people out or just ramble where possible on other boards etc.

Thought I would post a couple of shots of a recent parturition. This is Urodacus planimanus and second instars. All young are now separated and in their own containers. These shots not too long after ecdysis, scleratization of the cuticle took place within a few days.






 

skinheaddave

SkorpionSkin
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2002
Messages
4,343
Mark,

Always glad to see someone of your calibre make it to the boards. Especially someone who is so well versed in an under-represented niche.

Since we have you here, I have a question. Australian scorpions have seemed to me to be well represented at the species level but rather limited at the genus level. Does this reflect a genuinely high level of conservation among the Australian scorpions or is it a result of taxonomical investigation lagging behind where it has gone in other parts of the world?

Cheers,
Dave
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
Since we have you here, I have a question. Australian scorpions have seemed to me to be well represented at the species level but rather limited at the genus level. Does this reflect a genuinely high level of conservation among the Australian scorpions or is it a result of taxonomical investigation lagging behind where it has gone in other parts of the world?

Cheers,
Dave
Thanks Dave. Taxonomy is not my specialty, I tend to put most effort into life history and environmental physiology. However, I can comment. You are correct, we certainly dont show that many different genera. The Urodacus genera is endemic to Australia and is quite conservative and will without doubt have far more species than is presently recognised. However it is clearly one genus. Taxonomy in Australia has been through a long dormancy. We are waiting publication from research into the genus Lychas, which as I understand has described many new species.

One of the reasons I am not a fan of txonomy is that it is such an inexact science and I am not entirley in agreement with the foundations of phylogentic taxonomy. We dont recognise subspecies over here and to me that is a great shame. Taxonomists have told me this is because the level of difficulty is too high, which is another reason I am not a fan of phylogenetic taxonomy. However, not being a fan doesnt mean I dont respect it and understand its value.

We have Isometroides which appears to be one genus, but with a whole lot of variation still not recognised. Some argue that our Lychas may well be an endemic genera.

But...regardless of taxonomy our scorpions appear to be quite conservative and therefore boxing variation into any sort of neat compartments is a very difficult task.
 

Brian S

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
May 29, 2004
Messages
6,543
Hello Mark!!
Where have you been? Havent seen you around in a long time. Hope everything is going well down in the land of Oz :)
 

Brian S

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
May 29, 2004
Messages
6,543
Always here mate, just keeping myself busy. How are you?
Just fine. Breeding alot of different species of scorpions since we last talked. I have been sending people from Oz your way both here and on Venom List as most of us know very little about how to culture or even keep Aussie scorps lol.

BTW, did you ever move to a digital camera or are you still using film out of curiosity?
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
Just fine. Breeding alot of different species of scorpions since we last talked. I have been sending people from Oz your way both here and on Venom List as most of us know very little about how to culture or even keep Aussie scorps lol.

BTW, did you ever move to a digital camera or are you still using film out of curiosity?
I knew you were sending me the occasional person, thanks for that. I'm using a Nikon D50 now because it accommodates all my old Nikkor lenses, even those 25 years old. It will also accept my old Metz flashes. The planimanus shots are with the D50.

I have gradually been having improved success with scorpion husbandry. I can tell you we have pretty fussy scorpions over here.
 

Brian S

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
May 29, 2004
Messages
6,543
I have gradually been having improved success with scorpion husbandry. I can tell you we have pretty fussy scorpions over here.
This is probably a question that will take a long time for you to answer and you may not even want to begin, but I am curious about what are you doing differently than before?
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
This is probably a question that will take a long time for you to answer and you may not even want to begin, but I am curious about what are you doing differently than before?
I have learnt that our scorpions seem to have very tight water relations, especially with respect to ecdysis and parturition. Also the correct soil type and water levels along with humidity are very important. Far more important than I ever considered. For instance we have species such as Urodacus yaschenkoi that never drink free water, but derive it osmotically. I knew this before, but gradually over time this has become a lot clearer to me and so I have set up keeping situations with much tighter parameters.

My next challenge is to speed up growth. I have an adult Urodacus elongatus that only recently became an adult. It was born on my fridge 5 years ago, thats tooo long!!
 

Brian S

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
May 29, 2004
Messages
6,543
Wow!!! Thats a long time. Do you keep any Buthids from Oz? I dont even know what species from that family exists down there lol
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
Wow!!! Thats a long time. Do you keep any Buthids from Oz? I dont even know what species from that family exists down there lol

Not at this stage. I have not had success in the past with them. However hoping that will change. I plan on doing a trip sometime soon into outback South Australia to a remote salt lake where there are some very interesting Buthids, with a bit of luck my black light will find me some very interesting scorps.

We have the endemic Australobuthus from inland salt lakes where I am going, monotypic genus. I might also find Isometroides angusticaudus and Lychas buchari. Scorpion activity at night seems to vary a lot. Seeing it has been dry so long it may not be good. Fingers crossed.
 

skinheaddave

SkorpionSkin
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2002
Messages
4,343
Mark,

I'm not really into taxonomy myself, but it does prove a good place to start with any new group of animals. Anyhow, thank you for your reply. It definitely gives me some idea of how to approach the subject should I find occasion.

I am not entirley in agreement with the foundations of phylogentic taxonomy.
This is an intriguing statement. Could you elaborate?

Some argue that our Lychas may well be an endemic genera.
That would be interesting. Can you point me to a paper?

Cheers,
Dave
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
Hi Dave

Phylogenetic taxonomy tends to split hairs a little too far in my opinion. I have read descriptions of new scorpion species based on one allozyme difference in an isolated population, which is plain ridiculous. In these cases where species are so very similar but isolated geographically I would much rather see subspecies used. Subspecies creates a connection between populations and indicates speciation in the process. If there are no subspecies, how can there be speciation? Speciation does not occur overnight, but more often than not occurs in allopatry over time. Of course at some point a different species needs to be recognised but I would like to see something a little broader than minor allozyme differences that simply indicate genetic isolation and uniqueness. Of course it is not practicle to use the biological species concept with many invertebrates. Variation needs to be recognised, but to my way of thinking we jump too readily to new species descriptions. However, I would rather see new species described than have significant variation overlooked.


New Lychas research has not been published as yet....as far as I know.
 

skinheaddave

SkorpionSkin
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2002
Messages
4,343
Mark,

Phylogenetic taxonomy tends to split hairs a little too far in my opinion.
There are definitely some splitters out there, but that existed before phylogenetics gained prominence in the world of taxonomy. I still think that phylogeny is a better system than the classic system, as it more accurately reflects evolutionary history and thus proves a useful tool. But yes, I sometimes think that if your name didn't follow the description then there wouldn't be so many species described. Unfortunately, there would probably be very few species described at all.

based on one allozyme difference in an isolated population, which is plain ridiculous.
Well, technically speaking if it is a clear difference between two populations with no intermediates to be found, a case could be made. Those are the details, however, that I will leave to others to mull over.

Cheers,
Dave
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
I still think that phylogeny is a better system than the classic system, as it more accurately reflects evolutionary history and thus proves a useful tool.

Well, technically speaking if it is a clear difference between two populations with no intermediates to be found, a case could be made. Those are the details, however, that I will leave to others to mull over.
I agree, I have always liked phylogenetic taxonomy and was very excited about it when it first came about. I would like to see the concept used to create species complexes with subspecies incorporated. This would give all a much better evolutionary picture than simply creating new species. Recognition of the speciation process is lost with this species system as is relationship. Subspecies recognition gives relationship information within the binomial name. It is a very contentious issue, one I dont get overly involved in, its not a big concern to me. I much prefer science that is not quite as subjective. I'll leave it up to the taxonomists to fight over..:wall:
 

skinheaddave

SkorpionSkin
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2002
Messages
4,343
I would like to see the concept used to create species complexes with subspecies incorporated.
Interesting. I will have to speak with my friend about this one. He is heavily involved in a salamander complex so it would be interesting to see his thoughts on this sort of issue. The idea certainly has merit.

Cheers,
Dave
 

redhourglass

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Messages
359
Hi Mark !

It has been a long while since we corresponded but glad to see you posting on AB. Those years long ago of yahoo groups are now over it seems LOL.

Cheers. ;)

Chad Lee
 

Mark Newton

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
401
Hi Mark !

It has been a long while since we corresponded but glad to see you posting on AB. Those years long ago of yahoo groups are now over it seems LOL.

Cheers. ;)

Chad Lee
Hey Chad...Hows it goin? It's been a while, never forgot about you though. How are those Chihuahuan Desert scorps going....?? Discover anything new?
 
Top