Scientists have described a new species of scorpion, Euscorpius lycius, from  the regions of the Muğla and Antalya Provinces in Southwestern Turkey, what was once known as ancient Lycia, fought over by Persians and Greeks for centuries due to it being a good source of wheat and timber. The last remaining Greeks were forced to leave after the 1919-1922 war with Turkey.

Euscorpius is a genus of scorpions, commonly called small wood-scorpions. As their name suggest these scorpions don't impress with a large size, the biggest representative being around 5 cm long. The group is widespread in North Africa and across Europe. Euscorpius scorpions are relatively harmless, with poison that has effects similar to a mosquito bite.

The new species is named after Lycia. Like the mystical history of the region the new species is rather secretive and can be found mainly in pine at night hidden away in pine forests, crawling on rocks or sitting on stone garden walls. All localities where the species was found were humid and cool, with calcareous stones covered with moss.
 




This image shows a female Euscorpius lycius. Credit: Ersen Aydın Yağmur

With the new discovery, the scorpions from this genus found in the country go up to a total of five known species.

The new scorpion is a relatively small representative, reaching a size ranging between two and two and a half centimeters. The color of the adult representatives is pale, between brown and reddish, with pedipalps, or claws, usually darker than the rest of the body.




 A living male Euscorpius lycius in its natural environment. Credit: Ersen Aydın Yağmur

"A total of 26 specimens belonging to the new species were collected from Antalya and Muğla Province, in the south-west of Turkey." explains Dr. Yağmur, the lead author of the study. "Further studies are in progress to understand the quantity and distribution of the different species and populations of the genus Euscorpius in Turkey and their relationship with the Greek populations." 


Published in ZooKeys.