Lorenzo Prendini

Curator, Arachnida, Myriapoda Collections

Principal Investigator, Institute for Comparative Genomics

Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Lorenzo Prendini smiles for an outdoors headshot.


  • University of Cape Town, Ph.D., 2001
  • University of Cape Town, B.Sc., (Hons), 1995 
  • University of the Witwatersrand, B.Sc., 1994

Research Interests

Dr. Prendini’s research addresses the systematics, biogeography and evolution of scorpions, using a combination of morphological, molecular and distributional data, and diverse analytical tools. Current research on scorpions is focused in three main areas: reconstructing the phylogeny and revising the contentious suprageneric classification of scorpions; systematic revisions of Afrotropical, New World, and Australasian scorpion families (work in the latter two regions conducted mostly by trainees under Prendini’s supervision and forming part of grant-funded initiatives); testing adaptational and biogeographical hypotheses in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prendini is developing similar research programs into the systematics of three little known arachnid orders: whip spiders (Amblypygi), sun spiders (Solifugae) and whip scorpions (Thelyphonida). The search for interesting arachnids has taken Prendini and his research group to more than 30 countries on all continents except Antarctica. Besides arachnids, Prendini is interested in the evolution of insect-plant associations and in theoretical issues concerning the phylogenetic analysis of morphological data including, but not limited to, methods for representing terminal taxa, differential character weighting, dynamic homology of trichobothria, and the coding of sexually dimorphic and serially homologous characters.

Please contact Dr. Prendini if you are interested in borrowing Arachnida (Araneae), Arachnida (non-Araneae) or Myriapoda or visiting these parts of the collection.


Last 5 years

González-Santillán, E. and Prendini, L. 2018. Systematic revision of the North American syntropine vaejovid scorpion genera Balsateres, Kuarapu, and Thorellius with descriptions of three new species. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 420: 1–81.

Esposito, L.A., Yamaguti, H.Y., Pinto-da-Rocha, R. and Prendini, L. 2018. Plucking with the plectrum: Phylogeny of the New World buthid scorpion subfamily Centruroidinae Kraus, 1955 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) reveals evolution of three pecten-sternite stridulation organs. Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 76(1): 87–122.

Schaffrath, S., Prendini, L., and Predel, R. 2018. Intraspecific venom variation in southern African scorpion species of the genera Parabuthus, Uroplectes and Opistophthalmus (Scorpiones: Buthidae, Scorpionidae). Toxicon 144: 83–90.

Barrales Alcalá, D.A., Francke, O.F., and Prendini, L. 2018. Systematic revision of the giant North American vinegaroons, genus Mastigoproctus (Thelyphonida: Thelyphonidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 418: 1–62.

Loria, S.F., and Prendini, L. 2018. Ultrastructural comparison of the eyespot and ocelli of scorpions, and implications for the systematics of Chaerilidae Pocock, 1893. Zoologischer Anzeiger 273: 183–191. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcz.2017.12.011.

Silva de Miranda, G., Giupponi, A.P.L., Prendini, L., and Scharff, N. 2018. Weygoldtia, a new genus of Charinidae Quintero, 1986 (Arachnida, Amblypygi) with a reappraisal of the genera in the family. Zoologischer Anzeiger 273: 23–32. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcz.2018.02.003.

Rubin, M., Lamsdell, J.C., Prendini, L. and Hopkins, M.J. 2017. Exocuticular hyaline layer of sea scorpions and horseshoe crabs suggests cuticular fluorescence is plesiomorphic and non-adaptive in scorpions. Journal of Zoology (London) 303: 245–353. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12493.

Esposito, L.A., Yamaguti, H.Y., Souza, C.A., Pinto-da-Rocha, R. and Prendini, L. 2017. Systematic revision of the Neotropical club-tailed scorpions, Physoctonus, Rhopalurus, and Troglorhopalurus, revalidation of Heteroctenus, and description of two new genera and three new species (Buthidae: Rhopalurusinae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 415: 1–134.

Rogers, D.C., et al. [list of authors including Prendini, L.] 2017. Images are not and should not ever be type specimens: A rebuttal to Garraffoni & Freitas. Zootaxa 4269(4): 455–459.

Wheeler W.C., Coddington, J.A., Crowley, L.M., Dimitrov, D., Goloboff, P.A., Griswold, C.E., Hormiga, G., Prendini, L., Ramírez, M.J., Sierwald, P., Almeida-Silva, L., Alvarez-Padilla, F., Arnedo, M.A., Benavides Silva, L.R., Benjamin, S.P., Bond, J.E., Grismado, C.J., Hasan, E., Hedin, M., Izquierdo, M.A., Labarque, F.M., Ledford, J., Lopardo, L., Maddison, W.P., Miller, J.A., Piacentini, L.N., Platnick, N.I., Polotow, D., Silva-Dávila, D., Scharff, N., Szuts, T., Ubick, D., Vink, C.J., Wood, H.M., and Zhang, J. 2016. The spider tree of life: Phylogeny of Araneae based on target-gene analyses from an extensive taxon sampling. Cladistics 1–43 DOI: 10.1111/cla.12182.

Ceriaco, L.M.P., Gutiérrez, E.E., Dubois, A., et al. [493 coauthors including Prendini, L.] 2016. Photography-based taxonomy is inadequate, unnecessary, and potentially harmful for biological sciences. Zootaxa 4196(3): 435–445.

Franz-Guess, S., Klußman-Fricke, B.-J., Wirkner, C.S., Prendini, L., and Starck, J.M. 2016. Morphology of the tracheal system of camel spiders (Chelicerata: Solifugae) based on micro-CT and 3D-reconstruction in exemplar species from three families. Arthropod Structure & Development 45: 440–451.

Amorim, D.S., Santos, C.M.D., Krell, F.-T., Dubois, A., Nihei, S.S., Oliveira, O.M.P., Pont, A., Song, H., Verdade, V.K., Fachin, D.A., Klassa, B., Lamas, C.J.E., Oliveira, S.S., De Carvalho, C.J.B., Mello-Patiu, C.A., Hajdu, E., Couri, M.S., Silva, V.C., Capellari, R.S., Falaschi, R.L., Feitosa, R.M., Prendini, L., Pombal Jr., J.P., Fernández, F., Rocha, R.M., Lattke, J.E., Caramaschi, U., Duarte, M., Marques, A.C., Reis, R.E., Kurina, O., Takiya, D.M., Tavares, M., Fernandes, D.S., Franco, F.L., Cuezzo, F., Paulson, D., Guénard, B., Schlick-Steiner, B.C., Arthofer, W., Steiner, F.M., Fisher, B.L., Johnson, R.A., Delsinne, T.D., Donoso, D.A., Mulieri, P.R., Patitucci, L.D., Carpenter, J.M., Herman, L., and Grimaldi, D. 2016. Timeless standards for species delimitation. Zootaxa 4137(1): 121–128.

Prendini, L. 2016. Redefinition and systematic revision of the East African scorpion genus Pandinoides (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) with critique of the taxonomy of Pandinus, sensu lato. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 407: 1–66.

González-Santillán, E. and Prendini, L. 2016. Systematic revision of the North American syntropine vaejovid scorpion genera Maaykuyak, Syntropis, and Vizcaino, with description of the adults of Syntropis williamsi. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 405: 1–67.

Adams, A., Marais, E., Turner, S., Prendini, L., and Pinshow, B. 2016. Similar burrow architecture of three arid-zone scorpion species implies similar ecological function. Natuurwissenschaften (The Science of Nature) 103: 56. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-016-1374-z.

Ceccarelli, F.S., Ojanguren-Affilastro, A.A., Ramírez, M.J., Ochoa, J.A., Mattoni, C.I., and Prendini, L. 2016. Andean uplift drives diversification of the bothriurid scorpion genus Brachistosternus. Journal of Biogeography. [Early Edition: DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12760]

Janion-Scheepers, C., Measey, J., Braschler, B., Chown, S.L., Coetzee, L., Colville, J., Dames, J., Davies, A.B., Davis, A., Davies, S., Dippenaar-Schoeman, A., Duffy, G., Fourie, D., Griffiths, C., Haddad, C., Hamer, M., Herbert, D., Hugo-Coetzee, L.E.A., Jacobs, A., Jansen van Rensburg, C., Lamani, S., Lotz, L.N., Louw, S., Lyle, R., Malan, A., Marais, M., Neethling, J.-A., Nxele, T., Plisko, D., Prendini, L., Swart, A., Theron, P., Truter,  M., Ueckermann, E., Uys, V.M., Villet, M.H., Willows-Munrow, S., and Wilson, J.R.U. 2016. Soil biota in a megadiverse country: Current knowledge and future directions in South Africa. Pedobiologia – J. Soil Ecol. 59: 129–174.

Ojanguren-Affilastro, A.A., Mattoni, C.I., Ochoa, J.A. Ramírez, M.J., Ceccarelli, F.S., and Prendini, L. 2016. Phylogeny, species delimitation and convergence in the South American bothriurid scorpion genus Brachistosternus Pocock 1893: Integrating morphology, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94: 159–170.

Maquart, P.O., Réveillion, F., Prendini, L., Burger, M., Fisher, B.L., and Van Noort, S. 2016. New distribution records for African Amblypygi. African Entomology 24(1): 245–246.

Amr, Z., Abed, O.A., Al Share, T., Hamidan, N., and Prendini, L. 2015. New records of Jordanian scorpions. Jordan Journal of Natural History 2: 30–38.

Prendini, L. 2015. Three new Uroplectes (Scorpiones: Buthidae) with punctate metasomal segments from tropical central Africa. American Museum Novitates 3840: 1–32.

González-Santillán, E. and Prendini, L. 2015. Systematic revision of the North American syntropine vaejovid scorpions with a subaculear tubercle, Konetontli González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 397: 1–78.

Prendini, L. 2015. A remarkably small species of Uroplectes Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) endemic to the Succulent Karoo of the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. African Invertebrates 56(2): 499–513.

Cushing, P.E., Graham, M.R., Prendini, L., and Brookhart, J.O. 2015. A multilocus molecular phylogeny of the endemic North American camel spider family Eremobatidae (Arachnida: Solifugae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 92: 280–293.

Bird, T.L., Wharton, R.A., and Prendini, L. 2015. Cheliceral morphology in Solifugae (Arachnida): Primary homology, terminology, and character survey. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 394: 1–355.

Talal, S., Tesler, I., Sivan, J., Ben-Shlomo, R., Tahir, H.M., Prendini, L., Snir, S., and Gefen, E. 2015. Scorpion speciation in the Holy Land: Multilocus phylogeography corroborates diagnostic differences in morphology and burrowing behavior among Scorpio subspecies and justifies recognition as phylogenetic, ecological and biological species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 91: 226–237.

González-Santillán, E. and Prendini, L. 2015. Phylogeny of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, based on morphology, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Cladistics 31(4): 341–405.

Mattoni, C.I., García-Hernández, S., Botero-Trujillo, R., Ochoa, J.A., Ojanguren-Affilastro, A.A., Pinto-da-Rocha, R., and Prendini, L. 2015. Scorpion sheds ‘tail’ to escape: Consequences and implications of autotomy in scorpions (Buthidae: Ananteris). PLoS One 10(1): e0116639 (15 pp.). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116639.

Santibáñez-López, C.E., Francke, O.F. and Prendini, L. 2014. Shining a light into the world’s deepest caves: Phylogenetic systematics of the troglobiotic scorpion genus Alacran Francke, 1982 (Typhlochactidae: Alacraninae). Invertebrate Systematics 28: 643–664.

Santibáñez-López, C.E., Francke, O.F. and Prendini, L. 2014. Phylogeny of the North American scorpion genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) based on morphology, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 72(3): 257–279. (cover article)

Loria, S.F. and Prendini, L. 2014. Homology of the lateral eyes of Scorpiones: A six-ocellus model. PLoS One 9(12): e112913 (30 pp.). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112913.

Santibáñez-López, C.E., Francke, O.F. and Prendini, L. 2014. Kolotl n. gen. (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) a new scorpion genus from Mexico. American Museum Novitates 3815: 1–14.

Foord, S.H., Gelebe, V., and Prendini, L. 2014. Effects of aspect and altitude on scorpion diversity along an environmental gradient in the Soutpansberg, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 113: 114–120.

Tahir, H.M., Navidpour, S., and Prendini, L. 2014. First reports of Razianus Farzanpay, 1987 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Iraq and Pakistan, descriptions of two new species, and redescription of Razianus zarudnyi (Birula, 1903). American Museum Novitates 3806: 1–26.

Tahir, H.M. and Prendini, L. 2014. Redescription of Heterometrus latimanus and confirmation of the genus Heterometrus (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) in Pakistan. American Museum Novitates 3805: 1–23.

Cushing, P.E., Casto, P., Knowlton, E.D., Royer, S., Laudier, D., Gaffin, D.D., Prendini, L., and Brookhart, J.O. 2014. Comparative morphology and functional significance of setae called papillae on the pedipalps of male camel spiders (Arachnida, Solifugae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107(2): 510–520.

Monod, L. and Prendini, L. 2014. Evidence for Eurogondwana: The roles of dispersal, extinction and vicariance in the evolution and biogeography of Indo-Pacific Hormuridae (Scorpiones: Scorpionoidea). Cladistics 31(1): 71–111.

Bryson, R.W., Jr., Prendini, L., Savary, W.E., and Pearman, P.B. 2014. Caves as microrefugia: Pleistocene phylogeography of the troglophilic North American scorpion Pseudouroctonus reddelli. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14(9): 1–16.

Miller, A.L., Makowsky, R.A., Formanowicz, D.R., Prendini, L., and Cox, C.L. 2014. Cryptic genetic diversity and complex phylogeography of the boreal North American scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus (Vaejovidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 298–307.

Teaching Experience


Faculty Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, CUNY, 2003 - present.

Courses Taught

  • RGGS:
    • Core Course in Systematics (Classification, Taxonomy, Nomenclature, PhyloCode, DNA Barcoding, Species Concepts, Reticulation, Phylogeography and Coalescence), 2008–2010.
    • Entomology Course, guest lecture (Insect Relatives with Introduction to Chelicerata), 2012.
  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer, Israel:
    • Israel Taxonomy Initiative (Systematics and Diversity of Scorpions, with Introduction to the Israeli Fauna), 26–29 August, 2013. 

Graduate Advisees

  • Jayson Slovak, CUNY (2016–)

Graduate Committees

  • Committee Member:
    • Jeremy Frank, RGGS
    • Nayeli Gutierrez, RGGS