ARACHNODATA's current major projects
Scorpions of Switzerland / scorpionism
in Iran / scorpion fauna of the Middle East
of Switzerland: their biology and distribution
(Foto: Rémy Steinegger)
Revision of de Lessert's Catalogue des Invertébrés de la Suisse, fasc. 10, Scorpions
of 1917. Compilation and mapping of >1'400 new geographical records for Euscorpius
italicus (Herbst, 1800), E. germanus (C.L. Koch, 1837) and E.
alpha (di Caporiacco, 1950) in Switzerland. Comprehensive field and laboratory
studies on the biology and ecology of both species, mainly in the Canton of Ticino, in
Grisons in the southeastern valleys of the Mesocco, Bregaglia, Poschiavo and Müstair and
in the Canton of Valais in the Rhone valley near Sion and in the Zwischbergental south of
the Simplon. Examination of the present status of threat in populations of both species by
natural reasons and human activities in different regions and proposal of conservation and
protection strategies where applicable. Another topic of research is focussed on the
historical and cultural significance of scorpions in medicine, religion, tradition, arts,
superstition etc. in Switzerland.
The project costs 1998-1999 of SFr. 58'600.-- have completely been funded by the
Dr. Bertold Suhner-Stiftung für Natur-, Tier- und
Landschaftsschutz, the Ella & J. Paul Schnorf Stiftung, Pro
Natura (Switzerland), Pro Natura (Ticino) and Pro Natura (Grisons).
The project costs of all the other years from 1992 to 2004 were
privately funded by ARACHNODATA and his owner respectively.
The results of this project (1992 to 1999) are presented in the series
HELVETICA 13 of the Swiss Center for the Cartography of the
Fauna (SZKF/CSCF) and the Swiss Society of Entomology (SEG) in German and Italian. A
summary in English has already been published.
New and advanced results of these studies
will continuously be published in separate papers in scientific journals
and notified on the page publications.
medical and social significance of scorpionism in the southern provinces of Iran
For many decades, scorpionism is a known significant problem of medical and social
importance in many North African countries and in the Middle East, in Mexico and in
Brazil. No official information on this subject were available from Iran, particularly
from the southern provinces. Finally in 1996, ARACHNODATA was for the first time informed
that more than 20'000 sting patients or app. 1 % of the population were officially
recorded and medically treated in just a few hospitals in the province of Khuzestan. In 37
cases, the patients (most of them children at the ages of less than 10 years) died.
However, it must be estimated that the total rate of the annual scorpion sting accidents
is much higher, about 1 % in cities and > 5 % in rural areas. Responsible for these
estimated >100'000 stings each year (> 75 % of them effecting children!) are
primarely the buthid species Mesobuthus eupeus (45 %) and Androctonus
crassicauda (41 %) and Hemiscorpius lepturus (13 %) of the family of
above left: Hemiscorpius lepturus (male) (Foto: Dr. S. Tirgari)
above right: 7year old child with severe hemolysis and renal failure in coma, 14 hours
after triple sting injury from H. lepturus. (Foto: M.E. Braunwalder)
below left: Extensive damage to skin and subcutaneous tissues with development of
ulcers, 4 days after sting accident with H. lepturus.
below right: Same case as before. Complete sloughing of skin (necrosis), 6 days later.
(Fotos: Dr. M. Radmanesh)
with governmental bodies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Tehran University for
Medical Sciences, ARACHNODATA
is committed to coordinate and conduct a number of different projects on the biology,
ecology and epidemiology of scorpions and to launch a few comparative clinical studies on
traditional and advanced new First-Aid and medical treatment methods .
This project includes the organization and coordination of:
- general libraries of
arachnological papers and books at universities,
- representative scorpion and other arachnid collections in major
universities and museums,
- colloquia on general arachnological subjects
- intensive training courses and workshops for students from interdisciplinary sciences
- efficacious strategies to beat scorpionism with national education programs and
ARACHNODATA has furthermore initiated the first study to be
conducted by the world's leading scientific experts of scorpion venoms at the Laboratoire
de Biochimie of the Université de la Mediterranée in Marseille (France) on the
biochemical analysis and on the biological and toxicological effects of the presumed hemo-
and cytotoxic acting venom of Hemiscorpius lepturus. (as impressively
demonstrated in above pictures).
for ARACHNODATA's committment) of app. $ 52'000.00 per annum
are urgently needed and welcomed!
project on the scorpion fauna
of the circum Eastern Mediterranean area and in the Middle East
The fauna and zoogeography of the scorpions in the circum Eastern Mediterranean
area and in the Middle East are not well researched and based upon specimens randomly
collected and described by various authors in the past 150 years. A first revision of the
scorpions in this region was provided by Kinzelbach in 1975 and completed with maps in
1985. However, the taxonomical validity of some species and most of subspecies, first of
all those in the genus Euscorpius (Euscorpiidae) is still unclear and their
geographic ranges remain rather uncertain. Current comparative studies on mitochondrial
DNA and nuclear gene (allozymes) variation (Gantenbein et al., 1999) of these scorpions
revealed so promising first results that, as a consequence, a longer-termed international
research project was introduced at the 8th. International Congress on the Zoogeography
and Ecology of Greece and adjacent regions in Kavala (Macedonia) in May 1999. This
report has meanwhile been published:
Fet, V. & M.E. Braunwalder (2000): The scorpions (Arachnida:
Scorpiones) of the Eastern Mediterranean area: Current problems in taxonomy and
biogeography. Belgium Journal of Zoology, 130
(supplement 1); 15-20.
Major aims of this project are to prepare accurate identification keys on national
and regional scorpion species for scientists and non-scientists working in such fields as
zoology, ecology, education and particularly Public Health and social and education
departments since scorpions are a significant problem of considerable medical and social
importance in this region.
The details of this project will soon be published on this website.
The budgeted project costs of app. $
25'000.00 per annum (years 2004-2008) need urgently to be funded!
Offers are higly appreciated.
invitation for cooperation:
If you work in this region as a scientist or travel as a tourist
and in case you
accidentally find dead scorpions, then please send them,
preserved in a vial with 70% ethyle alcohole and accurate
description(s) of the collecting site(s), as post-parcel to:
ARACHNODATA, Frauentalweg 97, CH-8045 Zurich/Switzerland.
universities and individuals are kindly invited to check their collections and send their still
undetermined and unpublished scorpion material from this region for
you intend to fund or support the
one or other project, then please notify by e-mail.