Historically, morphological characters have been used to support the monophyly, composition, and phylogenetic relationships of scorpion families. Although recent phylogenomic analyses have recovered most of these traditional higher-level relationships as non-monophyletic, certain key taxa have yet to be sampled using a phylogenomic approach. Salient among these is the monotypic genus Caraboctonus Pocock, 1893, the type species of the family Caraboctonidae Kraepelin, 1905. Here, we examined the putative monophyly and phylogenetic placement of this family, sampling the library of C. keyserlingi Pocock, 1893 using high throughput transcriptomic sequencing. Our phylogenomic analyses recovered Caraboctonidae as polyphyletic due to the distant placement of the genera Caraboctonus and Hadrurus Thorell, 1876. Caraboctonus was stably recovered as the sister-group of the monotypic family Superstitioniidae Stahnke, 1940, whereas Hadrurus formed an unstable relationship with Uroctonus Thorell, 1876 and Belisarius Simon, 1879. Four-cluster likelihood mapping revealed that the instability inherent to the placement of Hadrurus, Uroctonus and Belisarius was attributable to significant gene tree conflict in the internodes corresponding to their divergences. To redress the polyphyly of Caraboctonidae, the following systematic actions have been taken: (1) the family Caraboctonidae has been delimited to consist of 23 species in the genera Caraboctonus and Hadruroides Pocock, 1893; (2) Caraboctonidae, previously included in the superfamily Iuroidea Thorell, 1876 or as incertae sedis, is transferred to the superfamily Caraboctonoidea (new rank); (3) the superfamily Hadruroidea (new rank) is established and the status of Hadrurinae Stahnke, 1973 is elevated to family (Hadruridae new status) including 9 species in the genera Hadrurus and Hoffmannihadrurus Fet & Soleglad, 2004 and (4) we treat Uroctonus and Belisarius as insertae sedis with respect to superfamilial placement. Our systematic actions engender the monophyly of both Iuroidea and Caraboctonidae. Future phylogenomic investigations should target similar taxon-poor and understudied lineages of potential phylogenetic significance, which are anticipated to reveal additional non-monophyletic groups.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2