Scorpions (and a Gecko)

There are 51 species of scorpions that can be found in Arizona, out of the 80 or so species in the United States. All scorpions can sting, and all have venom in their sting, but very few species are considered are medically significant, meaning that they have caused fatalities. Most scorpions hide under stones during the day, so me being me, I went out into the canyon and turned over stones to look for them.

Previously, I posted this picture:


This is a Superstition Mountains Scorpion, Superstitionia donensis. It is very small at less than an inch long including the tail. While no official data is available on their sting, they are considered harmless. Apparently, they are not often found but can be common is certain areas within their range.

4-Arizona Stripetail ScorpionA much larger species is the Stripetailed Scorpion (Hoffmannius spinigerus), Arizona’s most common scorpion species. At almost three inches, these are monsters compared to the Superstition Mountains Scorpion. It is named after the dark keels on each segment which form distinctive stripes. The sting is considered to be very painful, but not harmful or dangerous.

6-Arizona Stripetail ScorpionHere is another individual, showing off a typical defensive posture.

The only species of scorpion considered to be medically significant in Arizona is the Bark Scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus).

5-Bark ScorpionWhile much feared, it is important to put the numbers into perspective. Arizona has a human population of around 6.5 million. The annual number of bark scorpion stings is in the thousands, orders of magnitude lower but still quite a lot. However, since 1968 there have been a grand total of 2 fatalities due to bark scorpions, and the data I have doesn’t mention if these people were young children or had other medical conditions.

The sting is very painful, and effects can last for over a day. The limb can temporarily lose sensitivity or motor function, but usually recovers without lasting harm. Recommended first aid is a cool compress to reduce swelling, and either acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control the pain.

The bark scorpion is well adapted to living in narrow cracks and crevices, and actually curls its tail sideways to become flatter, as the individual in the above picture is doing.

8-Desert Grassland Whiptail

On an entirely different track, this is a Desert Grasslands Whiptail, which is a species that consists only of females. They are capable of laying fertile eggs without mating, although the females still go through the act of courtship with each other, and it appears that this stimulates the production of eggs. Kind of cool.

1-Banded Gecko

One of the rocks that I turned over was hiding this little guy. A relative of the commonly kept leopard gecko, this is a Banded Gecko. It is nocturnal, and hides under cover during the day.

A quick warning on stone rolling:

Besides scorpions, there is a very real chance of black widows and/or snakes under stones. Don’t slide your hand under a rock, always grab it from the top. Roll the rock towards you, so that it forms a barrier between you and whatever is underneath. Lastly, always put the stones back as you found them, but make sure any animals are out of the way first.

3-Banded Gecko

“Thank you for putting my house back!!”

~The Homesteading Hippy

1 thought on “Scorpions (and a Gecko)

  1. Pingback: Fun with Scorpions | The Homesteading Hippy

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