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Common Name: Arizona Bark Scorpion

Scientific Name: Centruroides sculpturatus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Arachnida

Order: Scorpiones

Family: Buthidae

Genus: Centruroides

Species: C. sculpturatus


The Arizona Bark Scorpion is 1-3” long as an adult including the tail. The scorpion can be straw-colored or tan. When shown under a florescent black light they seem to glow greenish-yellow. The Arizona Bark Scorpion body has a cephalothorax which is connected to an elongated abdomen which narrows to form a tail. The Bark Scorpion can be distinguished from other local species by its long thin pincers and a sub-triangluar long sternum.


The chelae or pincers are very slender, so they are about six times as long as the broadest part. The first pair of appendages (pedipalps) are large and form pinchers to hold prey, followed by four pairs of walking legs. At the base of the stinger is a little tubercle/vesicle or tooth. This can be seen with a hand lens or by the naked eye if it’s against a light background.


This species of scorpion never burrows, but it climbs, and that is something that distinguishes it from other Arizona species. The Arizona Bark Scorpion or “crevice scorpion” can be found in urban areas. These scorpions never burrow, instead they prefer to climb things, and they are found in areas with trees, especially areas with cottonwood, mesquite, and sycamore groves. They aren’t true desert scorpions because they prefer areas with moisture and humidity to support insects and other food sources. They can mostly be found under bark, rocks, leaves, and in houses. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is found in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, some in Southern Utah, and small parts of Texas. The Arizona Bark Scorpion like lawns with irrigation in residential areas to live, which has led to an explosion in the number of these animals in some areas.


The females will not give live birth if they are kept to dry, and the babies seem susceptible to drying out and dying. The increase in the irrigated residential areas has led to an increase of population for this scorpion. The Arizona Bark Scorpion eats little insects, crickets, centipedes, other scorpions, spiders, and other small prey. These scorpions are active during the night when the temperature is greater than seventy-seven degrees. When they hunt, they come out at night and ambush predators, paralyzing them with venom when they come near.


Then the prey is sprayed with an acid spray that destroys the tissues and the scorpion eats the dissolved remains. The Arizona Bark Scorpion competes with other scorpions, birds, lizards, mice, centipedes, and other rodents for food. A normal and desirable component of Arizona’s varied ecosystems are scorpions. They should be treated with respect and appreciation for their role in ecology that they play which happens to be, regulating the population of plant-eating insects. The Arizona Bark Scorpion is eaten by grasshopper mice, reptiles, birds, centipedes, other scorpions, and other rodents.


They evade being eaten by scuttling away quickly into a safe place, or if necessary using its venomous stinger for a defense. Some interesting facts about the Arizona Bark Scorpion are that they have a lifespan of about five to nine years. They are excellent climbers, and can climb just about anything. Scorpions aren’t normally aggressive to things that aren’t prey, and sting only when handled or for defense. To mate the scorpions have a special courtship dance.


The scorpions “dance” back and forth holding each others pincers. When they give birth they let their young live on their backs until they are ready to walk. The Arizona Bark Scorpion’s venom is the only species in North America that is dangerous to humans; however death is rare and more dangerous to infants, small children, and the elderly.


Author: Haley B

Published: 02/2008




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