Posted by: DmitriLogunov | February 16, 2010

The ‘platypus of a scorpion’ in the Manchester Museum

During his research visit to the Institute of Zoology of Almaty (Kazakhstan) in January 2009, Dmitri Logunov, the Curator of Arthropods of the Manchester Museum, acquired a number of unique insects and arachnids, as a donation from his colleagues. Among this material, the scorpion Pseudocharctas ovchinnikovi Gromov (illustrated!) is particularly notable, as the Manchester Museum is now one of only four museums in the world which have got specimens of this remarkable creature. The scorpion was described only in 1998 from an isolated mountain region of Central Asia, as the sole representative of a newly erected scorpion family. Scientists call it the ‘platypus of a scorpion’, because it is characterized by a mixture of primitive morphological characters as if ‘borrowed’ from other scorpion families. It is hardly surprising, as Pseudocharctas is rather similar with Carboniferous fossil scorpions and seems to stand close to the common ancestor of all families of extant scorpions.

 Illustration by Vladimir Timokhanov (Almaty, Kazakhstan)


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