Calchas nordmanni (Nordmann’s Scorpion, Artvin Scorpion / Artvin Akrebi)

Calchas nordmanni (Nordmann’s Scorpion, Artvin Scorpion / Artvin Akrebi)

Calchas nordmanni (Nordmann’s Scorpion, Artvin Scorpion / Artvin Akrebi) from Birecik, ŞANLIURFA -07.04.2008.

Nordmann’s Scorpion is one of the member of the family Iuridae. This family consists of 6 genera and 21 species (until 1998). They are distributed in western North America, South America, Asia (Turkey) and Europe (Greece). A common characteristic of the genera in this family is the presence of a large darkened tooth on the internal margin of the cheliceral movable finger. This characteristic is unknown in other scorpions. Many of the scorpions in this family inhabit arid and semi-arid habitats. Some of them also experience "winter conditions" during the year. Two rare representatives of this family are found in Europe and Turkey. These species are not mentioned in medical literature, but there exists an unpublished report from the Greek island Kos (Eastern Aegean Sea) that a man (not allergic to scorpion sting) almost died from a sting from Iurus dufoureius (=Iurus asiaticus, I. dufoureius asiaticus. The symptoms seemed to be systemic. Peoples also report about of severe symptoms from Calchas nordmanni stings from another Greek island (Megisti). It is very difficult to conclude anything from these unverified reports about the potential danger of Mediterranean Iuridae. These scorpions are very rare, and are seldom in contact with peoples. This might explained the lack of cases in the medical literature (peoples are rarely stung by these scorpions). It is also important to note that no other Iuridae worldwide are reported to have medical significance. Until further research is done, the European Iuridae should be treated with respect. Peoples who were stung were mostly construction workers who worked in the foundations of old stony buildings.

Nordmann’s Scorpion (Calchas nordmanni Birula, 1899) is a small scorpion that reaches 45 mm in length and has been decribed firstly from Artvin province in Anatolia (Caucasus region). It is light brown in color and only known from Greece (one or two islands) and Turkey, and also the single species of the genus. The pedipalp chela fingers with 6-7 oblique rows of principal denticles; tibial spurs present on third and fourth pair of legs (in the genus Iurus tibial spurs are absent); tarsus with two submedian rows of setae ventrally, without median row of setaceous tufts (this present in the other genus of the family Iuridae, Iurus); stigmata –respiratory openings- small and oval in shape (however these are long and slit-like in Iurus). Very little is known about the biology and actual distribution of this scorpion. The species prefer humid habitats in forests, where it is located under stones and other suitable objects. We detect this animal in the calceraous semi-arid area in loose background as seen in my shot.

References: 1. Wikipedia. 2. European Scorpions. 3. DiscoverLife. 4. Francke, 0. F. & Soleglad, M. E. (1981). The family Iuridae Thorell (Arachnida, Scorpiones). J . Arachnol., 9 :233-258.