American Museum Novitates 2015 (3840), 1-32, (17 November 2015) https://doi.org/10.1206/3840.1
KEYWORDS: Scorpiones, Buthidae, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, biodiversity, systematics, taxonomy
The scorpion fauna of tropical central Africa is poorly known and may be more diverse than generally recognized. The present contribution describes three morphologically similar, and probably monophyletic species of Uroplectes Peters, 1861, which have gone undetected, despite being distributed across a large area, extending from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Uroplectes malawicus, sp. nov., and Uroplectes zambezicus, sp. nov., occurring south of Lake Malawi and in the Zambezi River Valley, respectively, appear to be sister species. Uroplectes katangensis, sp. nov., is based on a single female from the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Based on their punctate metasomal segments, the new species appear to be most closely related to Uroplectes chubbi Hirst, 1911. The markedly concave, shagreened dorsomedian surfaces on metasomal segments I–IV resemble the stridulatory surfaces on the metasomal segments of most Parabuthus Pocock, 1890, and, together with the robust metasoma and worn tips of the aculeus observed in some specimens, suggest that these species may also be capable of stridulation. Based on examination of type material, the following synonyms were confirmed: Scorpiobuthus apatris Werner, 1939 = Uroplectes chubbi Hirst, 1911; Uroplectes jutrzenkai Penther, 1900 = Uroplectes vittatus (Thorell, 1876). The following new synonyms are presented: Uroplectes andreae Pocock, 1899 = Uroplectes occidentalis Simon, 1876, new synonym; Uroplectes chubbi briodi Schenkel, 1932 = Uroplectes vittatus (Thorell, 1876), new synonym. Lectotypes are designated for U. chubbi and U. jutrzenkai.