In Arizona, many individuals assume that any desert scorpion they encounter is an Arizona bark scorpion. That isn’t the case.
Arizona is the home to a multitude of species of scorpions. While all scorpions have poison that they can use to seize their prey, not all scorpion species with venom is dangerous to humans and critters. Arizona may not have the world’s most giant scorpions or the world’s venomous scorpions. Still, it has a scorpion with a rather potent venom: the Arizona bark scorpion. A sting from that scorpion may be very unpleasant at best, or, at worst, with more lasting consequences, the scorpion sting may be excruciating. Deaths from scorpion stings are very unusual. Extreme caution: Strong or severe effects may occur in people susceptible to allergic reactions to stings and people with undeveloped or weakened immune systems (very young and ancient). Small animals can have adverse reactions as well.
Southeastern California, portions of northwestern Mexico and most of the southern half of Arizona, including Tucson, Yuma, and Phoenix, are part of the Sonoran Desert, covering around 100,000 miles.
You will get some tips below on recognizing the four most common types of scorpions in Arizona that you are likely to encounter.
The well known Arizona bark scorpion is also known as Centruroides sculpturatus. It is easily distinguished from all other scorpions in the region by having long, narrow hands and pincers, along with a long, slender tail or metasoma. It is usually uniform tan-yellow to orange in the desert and maybe stripped at higher elevations. The metasoma is kept on the side and coiled to where its sting is pointing. It is curled horizontally over the body, rarely in males. In males, the metasoma segments are sub-equal in size, long and slender. In rocky areas in the desert, the Arizona bark scorpion is very abundant and found across Arizona.
Stuff to Know About Arizona Bark Scorpions
- Family: Buthidaeae
- Typically approximately 2 to 3 inches tall
- Active At Night
- Give birth to baby scorpions, 25-35 at a time
- A food source can be roaches, crickets, and other insects
- If you spot one, there’s likely to be more
- They are not drowning just because you see them in the pool.
- Rough surfaces, like tree barks, can be climbed
- Arizona bark scorpions are said to be prevalent scorpions found in homes in the Phoenix area.
Giant Hairy Scorpion
The prominent Arizona giant hairy scorpion, a gigantic scorpion in the United States, is Hadrurus arizonensis. That’s actually what hairy scorpions are: hairy. Setae are heavily coated in metasoma and pedipalps (hairs). There is no such thick coating of setae on the appendages of any other American scorpions. There are also relative sizes of pedipalps and metasoma; not robust, not slender—dark dorsal surface; yellowish appendages, greenish due to mild fluorescence. The carapace has no color in the crescent from the median to the lateral eyes. The Giant Hairy Scorpion of Arizona digs deep tunnels or lives beneath objects on the floor for shelter. It is found in saguaro forests in Arizona.
Stuff to Know About the Giant Hairy Scorpion
- Family: Iuridae
- More than 4 inches long
- Also known as the Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion
- Suitable food can be small lizards, snakes, centipedes, spiders, other scorpions, and other insects.
- Dig holes to find water
The Arizona stripe tail scorpion is also called Vaejovis spinigerus. By possessing a reasonably robust, lustrous metasoma with keels with intrinsic pigment, the name, striped tail scorpion, is easily identified from all other Arizona scorpions. The dorsal keels end in a distinctly spinoid granule on the metasoma, which gives it the name ‘spinigerus’ or ‘spine bearing.’ Typically the body is silky; the hands are smooth and lustrous, rarely inflated with the palm. The color ranges from light yellow-brown to dark stripes along the dorsum, extending to the carapace’s median eyes and lateral eyes. The lines create a slightly horned appearance. It is reported that females exceed 70 mm, but they are typically under 60 mm or 3 inches.
Stuff to Know About the Arizona Scorpion Stripetail
- Family: Vaejovidae
- Typically less than 3 inches long, and females appear to be larger than males
- Stripetail scorpions may also be named Arizona’s most widespread scorpion species, commonly found under piles of rocks or debris
Yellow Ground Scorpion
The Yellow Ground is scientifically called Vaejovis confusus. It is granular and yellowish in appearance. Like the Arizona bark scorpion, it has slim hands and fingers, but the first two metasoma segments are broader than or as long as the large ones. Present all over the Sonoran Desert where scrapes under rocks or other artifacts are burrowed or dug.
Stuff to Remember About The Yellow Ground Scorpion
- Family: Vaejovidae
- Found in the Sonoran and Great Basin deserts from southeastern Arizona to Idaho and southeastern Washington