Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ecuador (2014)

Date of issue: 2014
Name of issue: Scorpiones del Ecuador
(Scorpions of Ecuador)
Number of arachnid related stamps in issue: 5/5

Finally, I am able to update my blog with this series. Took me a while to get, mainly because of the high nominal value of these stamps. A sheet with five stamps of a value of 5 USD each becomes quite costly when bought from a dealer. I have seen these sheets go as high as 75 USD each and considering I like to get two, one to keep intact and the other one to individualize the stamps, it became an expensive endeavor.

I would like to expressed my gratitude to Mr. Juan Pablo Aguilar Andrade from the Ecuadorian Philatelic Association who has kindly helped me acquire this series of stamps for the nominal value.

This is a really neat series. First, it has a scorpion shaped souvenir sheet. Second, it has s stamp depicting a scorpion that was named to honour one of my friends, Éric Ythier (who also helped me with the scorpion entries in this blog). Third, there are not too many scorpion only series out there.

Unfortunately, there are a few disappointing aspects of this series. As usual, I would have preferred artwork over pictures for the stamps. But since all the pictures are credited to my friend Éric, I can forgive this time!

Also, the stamps seem to suffer from bad quality control. The alignment of the stamps and the perforations is deficient and judging from the two sheets I have, is also random (see scans of my individual stamps compared to the scan of my full sheet).

I would also like to thank my friend Jorge Lizarraga who took time to translate the texts from the information booklet of the Ecuadorian Postal Services. All the information below is from the said booklet:

Scorpions can be distinguished from their brothers the insects because they have eight legs, while the others only have six. They are beautiful invertebrates despite their sinister appearance, accompanied by the fame of attacking defenceless children. Even though the stinger located at the posterior extremity can inject venom, the hospitals of our nation have not registered deaths related to a scorpion sting.

They are descendants of marine ancestors and became terrestrials three hundred million years ago.

Ecuador should be considered the paradise of scorpions in Latin-America, since it is a center of speciation and endemism. New species are found frequently in our country.

Mating rituals are complex and involve a nuptial dance of the couple. After mating, females mature a few dozens of eggs that hatch at the same time they are laid. Mothers recognize their litter because of their odor. The little scorpions climb onto the mothers back where they stay until their first molt. Then they begin a solitary phase until they reach maturity.

They are carnivorous and eat every kind of invertebrate within their range, including other scorpions.

With nocturnal habits, during the day they hide in openings of the ground, inside tree cavities and under stones. In the Ecuador four different types of troglobites, meaning specialized cave dwellers can be found; Troglotayosicus vachoni, Tityus demangei, Tityus ashmolei and Tityus jussarae.

Their distribution ranges from sea level up to the snow limit. They are also present in the Galapagos Islands, where they possibly arrived on a drifting trunk or transported by hurricanes.

They should be considered beneficial because they control the pests of the crops and even domestic cockroaches. They are also part of the food chain and serve as food for birds and mammals.

Centruroides margaritatus
Common name: Puna island scorpion
Family: Buthidae
The scientists called it "margaritus" which means "Pearl jeweled" since its body is covered with granules resembling small pearls. It can reach up to 10 centimeters in length. It is common in the Ecuadorian coast and it is an avid cockroach eater. Females have been found with hundreds of small scorpions on their backs.
Michel #: ?
 order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais, 1841)

Tityus asthenes
Common name: Weak scorpion
Family: Buthidae
It lives in the tropical rainforests of Ecuador on both sides of the Cordillera de los Andes. It climbs up to the trees canopy and it has been seen hunting for insects on flowers and fruits. With the cutting of the forests and the advance of agricultural land, its habitat shrinks continuously and may run the risk of extinction. Their sting is painful.
Michel #: ?
 order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
Tityus asthenes Pocock, 1893

Teuthraustes atramentarius
Common name: Chulla scorpion
Family: Chactidae
Common in the city of Quito and its surroundings. It has a dark black color, similar to black shiny leather. At sunset, they come out of their hiding places to hunt small prey such as crickets, grasshoppers and worms. It runs for shelter as soon as dawn arrives, often, they run under doors where housewives consider them as fearsome intruders. It should be considered harmless.
Michel #: ?
 order: Scorpiones
family: Chactidae
Teuthraustes atramentarius Simon, 1878

Tityus crassicauda
Common name: Thick tail scorpion
Family: Buthidae
It is characterized by having a much widened telson or tail, which justifies its name "crassicauda". It was discovered on the western slopes of the Pichincha volcano, in 2013. Its sting causes local edema and pain that disappears after a few hours. During the day it hides in rotten logs and, if it is bothered, it “plays dead” resembling a piece of wood, which it can mimic because of its reddish color.
Michel #: ?
 order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
Tityus crassicauda (Lourenço, 2013)
Tityus ythieri
Common name: Morona Santiago’s scorpion
Family: Buthidae
At the moment it is known only to dwell in Morona Santiago, it was described as a new species in 2007 by the scientist Wilson R. Lourenco. This species lives on the forest ground, hiding itself between dead leaves and decomposing wood.
Michel #: ?
 order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
Tityus ythieri Lourenço, 2007
Souvenir sheet:


Information booklet:

side 1
side 2

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