The phylogenetic and morphological analyses of Androctonus crassicuda from Khuzestan province (Scorpiones: Buthidae)

Document Type: Original Articles


1 Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Ahvaz, Iran

2 Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran


The scorpion Androctonus crassicuda is the most diverse in the family Buthidae and endemic in Khuzestan province, Iran. Due to the limitations of species identification based on morphological characteristics, describing the relationship between species through molecular investigation of specimens is one of the new approaches. In the current study, the analysis was based on 32 morphological characters of A. crassicuda from southwest Iran and DNA sequences of two mitochondrial markers cytochrome oxidase subunit I, 12sRNA loci and the phylogenetic tree was constructed using Maximum Likelihood method with 1000 replications sampling using MEGA7 software. The results of the phylogenetic tree showed that A. crassicuda of Khuzestan classified into a monophyletic group and genetic diversity of populations of this species was not significant (0.001). The highest and lowest genetic distance of A. crassicuda of Khuzestan with other regions of Iran was observed with Urmia and west Azerbaijan, respectively. There is a clear divergence between Androctonus crassicuda isolated from northern and southern of Iran. This study showed that the importance of the geographical and climate features of the region and genetic distance between the populations. Phylogenetic analysis of Androctonus sp. from other region showed the highest and the lowest genetic distance with A. gonneti (Morocco) and A. amoreuxi (Portugal). Comparison morphological characters and morphometric studies revealed that metasoma characteristics are important in the diagnosis of A. crassicuda. The analysis of morphometric values of A. crassicuda constructed was mainly compatible with the phylogenetic trees and supports the traditional morphological classification and clearly defined the genera of Androctonus sp.