More than 50 species of scorpions call southwestern states like Arizona home. These species include the Paravaejovis spinigerus, the Hadrurus arizonensis, and the Centruroides sculpturatus. Knowing basic facts about scorpions is an important part of being a responsible Arizona resident and can help you and your family stay safe.
The Paravaejovis spinigerus is a small, burrowing species that measures no longer than three inches as an adult. It’s easy to mistake this species for Centruroides sculpturatus, but the Paravaejovis spinigerus has a larger tail and heavy pedipalps. The heavily armoured scorpion feeds on smaller arthropods and seeks damp spaces. In nature, it can be found on sandy soils of all kinds. It also likes to hide under surface objects like bags, shoes, and sleeping bags. The Paravaejovis spinigerus does sting but its venom is not as potent as other species.
The Hadrurus arizonensis is often known by a descriptive nickname: the Arizona giant hairy scorpion. It can be found in Mojave and Sonoran Desert and the Baja California Norte areas of Mexico. This species is the largest scorpion in the United States, with some adults exceeding five inches in length. To compensate for weak venom, the Hadrurus arizonensis has strong pedipalps for grasping prey. From above, it has a dark body, light sides, and off-white legs.
It eats spiders, insects, small lizards and other animals, and even other scorpions. It usually lives in low, shallow sandy areas and under rocks.
Outside of Arizona, the Centruroides sculpturatus is also found in Nevada, California, Texas, New Mexico, northwestern Mexico, and Colorado. Its colors and markings vary dramatically. Some are dark with checkered patterns or stripes, and others are pale. This slender scorpion measures only two to three inches in length as an adult and has narrow appendages and a long, slim tail.
But don’t let its small stature fool you. All native scorpions can sting, but only the Centruroides sculpturatus has venom that poses a hazard to human health, according to the University of Arizona. It’s unfortunate that it’s also the species most drawn to areas where humans work and live. A non-territorial pest, C.sculpturatus is usually found living around other creatures.
If you are stung by a scorpion, seek immediate medical attention.
The C.sculpturatus spends the daylight in crevices. It’s often found under logs, trees, and rocks. If it’s made its way into a building, it’s often found in walls. In fact, the species is known to seek out hollow-block perimeter walls. It often enters buildings through window vents and gaps in doorways. A talented climber, the C.sculpturatus can crawl across ceilings and walls.
Here are some best practices to avoid the pinch and sting of a scorpion encounter:
- At night, wear shoes indoors and outdoors.
- Don’t leave clothes or towels on the floor or, if outside, on the ground.
- Don’t store firewood indoors.
- Install tightly fitting weather stripping.
- Teach your children not to touch scorpions and to let an adult know ASAP if they see one.
- Maintain window screens, and check that they fit snugly in the window frame.
- Don’t store your shoes on the floor or outside.
Don’t risk dealing with scorpions by yourself. The Scorpion Exclusion Service from SOS Exterminating can help safely remove scorpions out of your abode.