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Morphology still matters in the genomic era: a case study in the scorpion subgenera Tityus (Archaeotityus) Lourenço, 2006 and the genus Mesotityus González-Sponga, 1981 (Scorpiones: Buthidae)

Grant number: 18/26824-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): May 15, 2019
Effective date (End): October 29, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Pinto da Rocha
Grantee:Jairo Andrés Moreno González
Supervisor: Lorenzo Prendini
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: American Museum of Natural History, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:15/18376-2 - Systematic revision and phylogenetic analysis of Tityus (Archaeotityus) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) based upon morphological and molecular characters, BP.DD


The use of molecular data on scorpion systematics has significantly increased during the last two decades, resulting in contributions that changed our knowledge on the evolution of the group. However, there are still few studies which combine both detailed morphological studies and molecular evidence in buthid scorpions. In this project I aim to conduct extensive scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging (e.g., telotarsal setation, pectinal basal plate and distoterminal macrosetae on pedipalps) and optical imaging for external morphology and the male genitalia, to propose a complete morphological data matrix. For this, 72 terminals of Tityus (Archaeotityus) and Mesotityus vondangeli (associated with 479 unpublished sequences) deposited at the American Museum of Natural History, New York (AMNH) will be examined. The morphological dataset will be added to the molecular matrix composed of five gene markers, which will allow us to infer the phylogenetic relationships and placement of Tityus (Archaeotityus) and Mesotityus vondangeli. The results of this project will be guaranteed by the examination of Tityus (Archaeotityus) specimens collected in hard to access localities from Ecuador, Bolivia, Costa Rica, French Guyana, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. In addition I will have unlimited access to SEM, optical microscope with UV light, and the most comprehensive collection of Neotropical scorpions. Dr. Lorenzo Prendini (AMNH) has been a collaborator of my advisor since 2000. He is one of the most influential experts in scorpions of the World. (AU)

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