Geometric morphometric analysis in nine species of genus Hottentotta (Birula 1908) (Arachnida: Scorpiones) from Iran

Document Type : Research articles


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

2 Research Department of Zoological Innovations (RDZI), Institute of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

3 Rodentology Research Department (RRD), Institute of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran


Hottentotta Birula, 1908 is one of the most widely distributed buthid scorpions, with more than 40
described species from Africa, across the Middle East, to India. Currently, this genus is represented
by ten morphological species in Iran (H. akbarii, H. jayakari, H. juliae, H. khoozestanus, H.
lorestanus, H. navidpouri, H. saulcyi, H. schach, H. sistanensis and H. zagrosensis), all of which are
endemic or subendemic in Iran. The members of this genus have not been properly studied from the
taxonomic point of view. A tool that could contribute to scorpions' taxonomic studies is geometric
morphometry, which is defined as the fusion between geometry and biology. In this study, the size
and shape variations in sternocoxal structure in Hottentotta populations have been examined using
the geometric morphometric method. The goal was to analyze the isometric size and conformation in
nine species of Hottentotta. 100 individuals of Hottentotta, collected from different parts of Iran
during 2018-2020, were photographed. Coordinate (x, y) configurations from landmarks were
registered in sternocoxal structures. Geometric morphometric analyses were performed using R
language. The results clearly showed divergence in the shape and size of sternocoxal structure
among the studied taxa. However, the major shape changes were associated with H. akbarii which
has a larger size of sternocoxal structure and a narrower sternum, shorter coxa II-III, and longer
coxa IV.


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