Species composition and spatial distribution of scorpions based on eco-environmental variables in Provinces along with Oman Sea and Persian Gulf in Iran: GIS- based approach

Document Type: Original Articles

Authors

1 Razi Reference Laboratory of Scorpion Research, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute , Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran

2 Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of Public Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, Health Science Research Centre, Faculty of Health, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

Abstract

Background: Scorpions are venomous arachnids with major medical health importance in Iran specifically in the southwest. Three families of scorpions including Scorpionidae, Hemiscorpiidae and Buthidae were reported in Iran.
Objectives: This study on scorpion ecology was carried out to determine the species composition and the dispersion of scorpions based on the ecological and environmental variables in combination with the Geographic Information System (GIS) in Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Bushehr Provinces along with Oman Sea and Persian Gulf in Iran.
Materials and Methods: Scorpions were collected from Hormozgan, Khuzestan and Bushehr Provinces by Ultra Violet light. The specimens were identified according to their morphological characters using reliable keys. To determine the relationship between the eco-environmental variables and the spatial distribution of species, GPS points of the collected scorpions were recorded and the scorpion shape file was overlaid on digital elevation model, slope, land use, temperature, rainfall, soil texture and bioclimatic maps.
Results and Conclusions: Totally, 25 specimens were reported in three families of Scorpionidae, Hemiscorpiidae and Buthidae. Razianus zarudnyi, Androctonus crassicauda, Buthacus macrocentrus, Mesobuthus eupeus phillipsii, Odontobuthus bidentatus and Hemiscorpius lepturus were the common species collected in Hormozgan, Khuzestan and Bushehr Provinces. The results of current study showed that a large number of species preferred the sand texture due to ecomorphological adaptation. Poor rangeland vegetation cover was preferred by most of the scorpion species including S. maurus townsendi. Combination of the ecological factors related to suitable habitat of different species of scorpion and GIS will provide the dispersal areas of each species. Furthermore, such database can be a comprehensive and valuable guide for health authorities to reduce and manage the scorpion envenomation.

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