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New Scorpion Species Discovered in California

Recent fieldwork by researchers Warren Savary and Rob Bryson uncovered a new species of scorpion in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northeastern California. It is related to several species in the genus Pseudouroctonus, and is only the fourth new species of scorpion to be described from California in the past twenty years. The description is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The lead author, Warren Savary, is a field associate of the California Academy of Sciences and has been studying the scorpion diversity of California since the 1970s.

“California is home to a remarkable variety of scorpions,” he said. “However, the more I study them, the more I realize that we’ve only just scratched the surface. A lot of scorpion diversity remains to be described.”

He and co-author Rob Bryson, a researcher at the University of Washington, have started using DNA to help better understand scorpion diversity.

“Scorpions have been around for a long time — over 400 million years — and many are quite similar in general appearance,” said Bryson. “We can use DNA sequences to help us piece together how scorpions have evolved and how they are related. Despite looking similar, DNA often reveals that even assumed close relatives can be quite divergent.”

Savary and Bryson are working on publishing the descriptions of several other new species of scorpions from California.

“2016 will be an exciting year for scorpion discoveries,” they said.

Read more at:

Pseudouroctonus maidu, a new species of scorpion from northern California (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae)


  1. I’ve often wondered if there were other unknown scorpions in the West. After reading the article, I realized it’s very possible the science world has no knowledge of the scorpions in the Blue Mtns of NE Oregon. I have found three during my summers building fences in the area of my ranch at an elevation of approximately 3000-3500 ft. We are considered high desert terrain… Anyone with credentials is welcome to come look for them.

  2. I live in those foothills of the Sierra and saw this article a few days back. This afternoon, I found a scorpion in my backyard. In the 23 years I have lived here, I have never found a scorpion before. Pretty small, about the size described in the article. How would one identify it? I captured it and can take pictures if anyone is interested..

  3. I was collecting quartz crystals recently near Foresthill in the lower Sierra Nevadas, and a scorpion came right out of a small cave crystal I was working on! It had be 20yrs since I had seen one last on the Consumnes river.

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