Erich Volschenk

Joined: Jun 9, 2015 Last Active: Mar 25, 2024 iNaturalist Australia

I am an invertebrate biologist. I study the systematics of Australian Scorpions, mostly Urodacidae and Buthidae. Additional groups of particular interest include Pseudoscorpiones, Geophilomorpha (soil centipedes), Opiliones (harvest spiders) and terrestrial flatworms. Western Australian representatives of most of these invertebrates groups are poorly resolved taxonomically, but also have life histories that make them susceptible to habitat destruction and climate change.

The taxonomy of our scorpions is hugely problematic. There are MANY undescribed scorpion species in Australia but there are also many synonyms. For Both Buthidae and Urodacidae, the ability to identify a species correctly from photographs is challenging and often impossible. Photos rarely convey the diagnostic characters needed to make species level identifications. For the most part, 'pretty photo's don't offer the information required for species level identification. Ideally, well resolved images of the following will be extremely helpful:

  • metasoma (tail) segments in lateral view, especially segments IV and V,
  • telson (stinger) in lateral view,
  • pedipalp (all segments) in dorsal view,
  • pedipalp chela (pincer) fingers in lateral view,
  • carapace (head) in dorsal view.

Well resolved locality information may also be helpful.

For Urodacidae, the above apply mostly to adult males and the females and juveniles of many species can not be identified without DNA sequence data.

The nature of this platform enables all participants to offer identifications of our scorpions. Many of the identifications offered here are based on publications with poor or no peer review. The identifications that I provide are based on my understanding of formally published descriptions. If I challenge an identification I'll generally provide a reason but I usually won't engage in debate over identifications based on images. If I ignore subsequent changes to my identification, don't assume that I agree with the changes.

To get in touch with me please email evolsche[at]

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