The Arizona Bark Scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, is a small light brown scorpion common to the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
This is the most poisonous scorpion in North America, and its venom can cause severe pain (along with numbness, tingling, vomiting, and stool) in adult humans.The Arizona Bark Scorpion is the most poisonous scorpion in North America, and its venom can cause severe pain. Click To Tweet
An adult male can reach a length of as much as 3.1 in (8 cm), while a female has a maximum length of approximately 2.75 in (7 cm).
The Arizona Bark Scorpion is nocturnal and prefers to ambush its prey. The usual food is crickets, roaches, beetles, and other small species of insect.
Arizona Bark Scorpion Habitat
The Arizona Bark Scorpion is particularly well adapted to the desert: layers of fat on its exoskeleton make it resistant to water loss. Nevertheless, they hide during the heat of the day, typically under rocks, wood piles, or tree bark.
This animal prefers riparian areas with mesquite, cottonwood, and sycamore groves, all of which have sufficient moisture and humidity to support insects and other prey species.
Interestingly, these scorpions do not burrow and commonly visit homes, requiring only a fraction of an inch for entry. The popularity of irrigated lawns and watering systems has led to a massive increase in the number of these animals.
Arizona Bark Scorpion Predators and Threats
Centuroides scorpions are unusual in that they are the only genus in the southwest that can climb walls, trees, and other objects with a sufficiently rough surface. The Arizona Bark Scorpion practices negative geotaxis, preferring an upside-down orientation, which often results in people being stung due to the scorpion being on the underside of an object.
This invertebrate is prey to a wide variety of animals such as birds, reptiles, and other invertebrates. Some examples include snakes, spiders, rodents, and other scorpions.
Development, pesticides and collecting scorpions for research or the pet trade also has an impact on the bark scorpion population.
Arizona Bark Scorpion Venom
The effect of this scorpion’s bite typically lasts between 24 to 72 hours. Temporary dysfunction in the area stung is common. For example, a hand or possibly arm can be unable to move or experience convulsions. It also may cause the loss of breath for a short period of time.
Due to the extreme pain, many victims describe sensations of electrical jolts. Fatalities from scorpion stings in the USA are rare. They mostly happen to small animals, small children, and adults with compromised immune systems.
Extreme reaction to the venom is numbness, frothing at the mouth, paralysis, and a neuromotor syndrome. This is different from a seizure and that may make breathing difficult, particularly for small children.
Two recorded fatalities have occurred in the state of Arizona since 1968. The number of victims each year in Arizona is in the thousands. In Mexico, more than 100,000 people are stung each year, and during a peak period in the 1980s, the bark scorpion claimed up to 800 lives there.