Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Victor Fet

Second Advisor

Michael Seidel

Third Advisor

Dan Evans

Fourth Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


The use of morphological analysis in the classification and phylogeny of scorpions often has led to confusion and controversy. In order to clarify these problems other character sets should be considered for analysis. One such tool is the use of molecular comparisons between organisms. This study used a section of the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene. This technique was applied to investigate four scorpion genera belonging to three families: Hadruru, Anuroctonus (luridae), Euscorpius (Euscorpiidae), and Centruroides (Buthidae). Total DNA was extracted with a standard phenol/chloroform method; a gene of interest was amplified using PCR; and resulting DNA sequence analysis was accomplished using phylogenetic software PAUP 4b. Analysis demonstrated a lack of divergence between the North American subspecies Hadrurus arizonensis arizonensis and H. a.pallidus, which were originally separated by coloration. Another North American genus, Anuroctonus, which possesses one described species, showed sufficient divergence to suggest multiple species. The genus Euscorpius demonstrated a species-level genetic diversity of the Alpine forms in E. germanus separated by the Adige River (Northern Italy) not illustrated by morphological differences. Lastly, the current classification of the genus Centruroides (USA and Mexico) may not be sufficient considering the amount of genetic diversity present within the species C. exilicauda. The quality of information achieved using molecular techniques show it as a very useful tool in systematics.


Biology – Classification.

Scorpions – Classification.

Scorpions – Phylogeny.