The Scorpion Files for scorpion taxonomy?


Currently, iNaturalist lacks a secondary taxonomic authority for Scorpiones A few arachnologists/scorpion enthusiasts have suggested The Scorpion Files be used as one, saying it’s very well-maintained and up to date. So, I wanted to see if anyone has any thoughts about iNat using it for our scorpion taxonomy. Let me know your thoughts!



The scorpion taxonomy on Inaturalist is not very accurate. For example, Uroctonus mordax is placed in Vaejovidae instead of Chactidae. I think it would be a great idea to use The Scorpion Files as the secondary taxonomic authority for Inaturalist. This would clear up many of these issues. I have been using the site for years and I do not have any complains regarding their taxonomy.



I second the notion of making use of The Scorpion Files taxonomy in iNaturalist. While there is some level of disagreement among scorpiologists about whether some taxa constitute valid species, The Scorpion Files are kept up-to-date with all of the recently described Vaejovis and recent splitting of genera being current. As a recent scorpion enthusiast, I have been frustrated on occasion when species I’m reporting have been missing from the iNaturalist database.



@azgulo Welcome to the iNaturalist forum, and thanks for joining us! Regarding species missing from the iNat database, hopefully you have flagged a parent taxon and mentioned the issue, and gotten quick response from a curator. But if any flags have been missed by us, definitely keep letting us know.



No. There are two major camps among scorpion taxonomists and I (and many actual scorpion biologists I speak with) disagree with the camp and scheme that Scorpion Files follows. We are talking FAMILY level disagreements. Unfortunately, it is indeed one of the only resources that is updated with regularity. If you want a partial explanation of the different camps, download my paper JACOBI, M. 2018. The Toothed Scorpions of the United States. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 33(3): 9-18 at



I cannot overstate how diametrically opposed the two distinct “camps” are and those professionals I rely on for insight into scorpion taxonomy overwhelmingly disagree with the “camp” that Scorpion Files follows.

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Regarding the misplaced genus, Uroctonus, I flagged the taxon but it got lost in the heaps of flags that followed and was never actually looked at.

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I suspected there would be disagreement regarding families such as Superstitioniidae or Diplocentridae. Personally, I do not have an opinion on this.

I reccomended the Scorpion Files because it has a complete and regularly updated species list which is not found anywhere else as far as I know.

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Would it be possible to adopt the higher level taxonomy of Prendini & Wheeler and then track the taxonomic changes that are announced on The Scorpion Files? I don’t know of any site where these updates are tracked. And thanks for sending the link to the Diplo paper! Looks nice. I only have two Diplos thus far.



So should we go with Fet & Soleglad, 2005 (aka Scorpion Files) or Prendini & Wheeler, 2005?

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I am in agreement with Chris. Since the status of Diplocentridae is disputed on the Scorpion Files, if we can use Pendini & Wheeler, 2005 for higher level taxonomy and the scorpion files for genera and species, that would probably be best in my opinion.

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After a bit of backchannel discussion with Brandon and Kari, the consensus among the three of us would be to follow Prendini & Wheeler 2005 and more specifically the workings of the American Museum of Natural History’s Scorpion Systematics Research Group. There have been significant modifications to subfamilies, genera, and species since that time, with publications listed on the AMNH site. With these higher level changes in place, keeping track of changes to genera and species through The Scorpion Files would put iNaturalist in a good place.



without a maintained list of higher scorpion taxa on the site, I worry that referencing is going to be a mess. Any chance of getting:
a) the AMNH folks to publish such a list on their website (something analogous to
b) better yet, convince scorpion-files to adopt the higher taxonomy you suggest (arguing that the community won’t accept their current taxonomy)?

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This may be relevant to the discussion of which higher level taxonomy iNat wishes to follow. There has been some relatively recent work done looking at scorpion genetics that has not been entirely in sync with the morphological based taxonomic works. It is something worth following as I think it may ultimately clear up current conflicts. Perhaps it is not too important to settle on one camp or the other until things settle out in the next couple of years, so long as iNaturalist stays current with genus and species updates. Here is the citation for the most recent paper: Santibanez-Lopez, C. E. et al. Phylogenomics facilitates stable scorpion systematics: Reassessing the relationships of Vaejovidae and a new higher-level classification of Scorpiones (Arachnida). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 135 (2019) 22-30.

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