Rock-loving creature with a ‘sharp’ stinger spotted in a boulder. It’s a new species
Equipped with forceps and ultraviolet lights, researchers trekked through a grassy, rocky region of India. That’s when they spotted something tucked into the crevice of a boulder: It was a striped and spotted creature with a long, “sharp” stinger.
Scientists were in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state in India, searching for Isometrus — a type of scorpion with “high cryptic diversity. When they spotted the patterned critter in the crevice, they realized they had found what they were looking for: a new scorpion species.
The new species was identified as Isometrus lithophilis, according to a study published in the January volume of the journal Zoologischer Anzeiger.
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Researchers named the scorpions after their “unique” affinity for rocks. Lithophilis is a combination of two Greek adjectives — lithos, meaning rock, and philia, meaning fondness.
Three specimens, a female and two males, of the new species were collected in July 2022, scientists said. They measured between about 1.5 inches and 2.4 inches long.
The scorpions have a “blackish brown” body with varying “yellowish brown” stripes and spots, according to experts. Their appendages are more yellow, and they have “blackish yellow” stripes and spots.
Scientists described the creatures’ exoskeleton as coarse and granular. Their tails are mostly smooth.
Photos show the new species’ patterned body and long tail-like body part.
Isometrus lithophilis has a “stout and elongated” venom gland and a “strongly elongated and sharp” stinger, according to researchers.
The new species is the first known type of Isometrus to favor rocks, scientists said. Specimens were spotted “in the crevices of sedimentary and metamorphic rock boulders.” Some scorpions were also seen near the Veera-Hanuman temple.