New genus of schizomid named after WA Museum’s Dr Mark Harvey

Article | Updated 3 months ago

Male and female specimens of Harveyus contrerasi.
Male and female specimens of Harveyus contrerasi.
Image courtesy of Rodrigo Monjaraz-Ruedas.

Can you imagine having an entire genus named after you?

This great honour was bestowed upon the Western Australian Museum’s Head of Terrestrial Zoology Dr Mark Harvey, when his colleagues named a new genus of schizomid, or short-tailed whipscorpion, after him.

The team, led by Rodrigo Monjaraz-Ruedas, discovered six new schizomid genera in their study, and named one Harveyus, in recognition of Mark’s exceptional contributions to schizomid research.

Four species have been placed in the new genus Harveyus, all of which are found only in eastern Mexican cave ecosystems.

You can learn more about the new genus in the 2019 research paper, ‘Systematics of the short-tailed whipscorpion […].’

<em />Harveyus mexicanus

Male specimen of Harveyus mexicanus, the type specimen of the genus.
Image courtesy of Rodrigo Monjaraz-Ruedas.

Over his own decades of research, Mark has named an incredible 60 new species and 8 new genera of schizomids throughout Australia.

Facts about Schizomids

  • They are otherwise known as short-tailed whipscorpions, or sprickets.
  • These tiny arachnids are primarily ground or cave dwelling creatures.
  • Short-tailed whipscorpions walk on six legs, and use two modified front legs as feelers.
  • Mothers care for their newborn young by carrying them on their back, just like scorpions!
  • Mark Harvey and Bill Humphreys named a species collected from caves on Barrow Island (remote Western Australia) Draculoides bramstokeri, in honour of the author of the gothic horror novel “Dracula”.
  • Schizomids primarily occur in rainforest habitats, but the Pilbara region of Western Australia has over 70 species, most of which are not yet described.
<em />Draculoides bythius

A living example of a schizomid, Draculoides bythius, from the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Image courtesy of Mark Harvey.

Learn more about arachnids in the Wild Life gallery!

If you’re interested in arachnids, you can learn more in the WA Museum Boola Bardip’s Wild Life gallery.