Outforia Quicktake: Key Takeaways
- Texas is home to 19 species of scorpions, none of which are lethal.
- Scorpions are important for controlling pest populations as they eat spiders and insects.
- They are nocturnal creatures and can be spotted with a black light.
- Scorpions perform a mating dance called promenade à deux which can last for hours.
- The striped bark scorpion is the most common species found in Texas.
There are over 2,500 species of scorpions worldwide, and approximately 19 species live in Texas. However, you do not have to worry about their sting because the scorpions in Texas are not lethal. In addition, they don’t usually sting without being provoked, so it’s best to leave them alone.
Most scorpions are nocturnal, so you can only spot them during the night with the help of a black light. Scorpions are vital to the environment because they are predators that eat spiders and insects. This way, they control the pest population.
Did you know that scorpions dance before they mate? They engage in a promenade à deux, a back-and-forth dance with their tales arched. Their mating dance can last for hours, and both partners go their separate ways when they are done.
14 Most Common Scorpions in Texas
1. Striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus)
The striped bark scorpion is one of the most common scorpions found throughout the mid-USA, including Central Texas.
You can spot this scorpion with yellow colors and dark stripes on its back in a variety of habitats. They can be found under rocks, in barns, and in sheds.
Most people encounter them while they are barefoot and get stung. Luckily, this scorpion sting is not deadly but can cause moderate reactions like pain and swelling. Its venom contains toxins that can cause muscle spasms and, in severe cases, nausea and vomiting.
Unlike other species, the striped bark scorpions are highly social. They have a complex mating and reproduction ritual. The adult scorpion starts by waving his tail to establish dominance, then enters into a mating dance.
2. Texas Cave Scorpion (Pseudouroctonus reddelli)
Just like the name indicates, these scorpions live in caves. You can also spot them under limestone because they wants to avoid sunlight. They are most commonly found in Central Texas, but are not as common as the striped bark one because of where they live.
They have dark colors so they can easily camouflage themselves within their environment.
This species is venomous, but it’s not deadly and has been compared to a bee sting. The Texas cave scorpion is an active forager and an opportunistic feeder, and their meals include juicy cave crickets.
3. Trans-Pecos Smooth Claw Scorpion (Diplocentrus lindo)
This scorpion species is found in Western Texas, in the Trans-Pecos mountains, as they prefer arid habitats.
It is a small scorpion of approximately 3 inches (76 mm) long with a dark brown and reddish color. It has large pincers and a short, stocky tail.
While it has powerful claws and scorpion sting that can cause significant pain, it’s not a venomous species. It burrows in the sand during the day and forages for food at night. They are also known as the digging scorpion because they dig in the desert sand.
4. Stripe-tailed Scorpion (Paravaejovis spinigerus)
The stripe-tailed scorpion is also called the devil scorpion because it has a pale reddish color with a stripe going down its big arched tail. In contrast with its tail, it has thin pincers and pedipalps. It is a medium-sized scorpion that reaches 3 inches (70 mm) and weighs just 0.3 oz (9 g).
This scorpion is not that common in Texas and prefers humid areas. However, it lives in a variety of habitats, and you can spot one under rocks and debris. It feeds on small invertebrates, crickets, and other scorpions.
The devil scorpion is venomous, but it’s not deadly to humans. However, you should always pay attention to its sting because you don’t know if you are allergic.
Their mating ritual is quite peculiar. The male and the female will dance together for a few minutes or hours and then depart. If the male dances longer, the female will ambush and eat him.
5. Intermediate Scorpion (Vaejovis intermedius)
The intermediate scorpion prefers warmer climates like the Chihuahuan desert, spanning from Mexico into Southwestern Texas. You can spot them in rocky areas as they like to live next to cliffs.
They are aggressive scorpions that move fast and are always ready to sting. They usually live together, so be careful if you spot one, as it means there are more in the area. Their venom was not studied, so in case you get stung, you should seek medical help.
6. Wauer’s Scorpion (Maaykuyak waueri)
Mauer’s scorpion lives throughout Texas but is often spotted in Southern Texas. They are very tiny scorpions, barely reaching an inch (25 mm) as adults. It is one of the smallest species of scorpions found in North America.
Their bodies are pale as sand, while their pincer and stinger are dark brown. This species is venomous but not deadly. However, the sting might cause mild swelling and pain.
7. Big Bend Scorpion (Diplocentrus whitei)
As the name states, this scorpion resides in Southwestern Texas, mostly around Big Bend National Park forest. Another name for the scorpion is the Whip Scorpion.
What’s interesting about this species is that they are a cross between a scorpion and a spider. They don’t have a stinger but a whip-like segment that blasts an acid-like liquid.
It is a New World scorpion that is quite big, reaching almost 3 inches (76 mm), and it’s dark and brown. If you ever spot one, don’t go near it because they pinch very hard until they draw blood.
8. Thick-handed Scorpion (Chihuahuanus crassimanus)
The thick-handed scorpion is found in the Chihuahuan desert and Southwestern and Southern Texas. They live exclusively in the desert. It is a yellow scorpion with a brown striped back. Their coloring offers them perfect camouflage in the desert sand.
It is a nocturnal species that only comes out at night to hunt for food or mate. The female gives birth to live scorpions that look like adults but are tiny. There are only a few observations for this species because they burrow during the day.
9. Pseudouroctonus Brysoni
This is a very new species of scorpion discovered in 2017, and they can be found in Davis County on the Southwestern side of Texas. Their habitat includes rocky sands covered by the sun. This species is dark brown, with the legs a bit lighter than the rest of the body.
They are pretty small, reaching approximately 1 inch long (25 mm). Since it’s a new species, there is no information regarding the venomous aspect, so if you are stung, it’s best to seek medical attention.
10. Russell’s Scorpion (Chihuahuanus ruselli)
This species is mainly known for living in the Chihuahuan desert and along Texas’s Southwestern border. They have a tan body color to match their surroundings, while their pincers are a dark red color.
This species can grow up to 2 inches (55 mm), burrowing themselves at the base of desert plants during the day. Russell’s scorpion can also hide in the burrows of desert rodents.
11. Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis)
The desert hairy scorpion, also known as the Arizona scorpion, is the largest scorpion in North America. It can reach up to 5.5 inches (14 cm), and because of its enormous size, it can feed on other scorpions, lizards, and snakes.
It mainly lives in the Sonoran and Mojave desert, but it has also been spotted in Western Texas, probably due to climate change.
They are so big that they get into fights with the giant desert centipedes of Arizona. This species sports a yellow body with a dark top and crab-like pincers. The giant desert hairy scorpion has brown hairs all over its body, which helps it detect vibration in the ground.
12. Eastern Sand Scorpion (Paruroctonus utahensis)
This species lives around the El Paso region in Texas. They like areas surrounded by sand to blend in as they are yellowish with swollen pincers. Their legs have bristle combs to move quickly through the sand.
This species is a burrower, and they like to hide at the base of vegetation on dunes. Like most species of scorpions, they feed on arachnids and insects.
The eastern sand scorpion can live up to 7 years. Like most scorpions, they are venomous, but they aren’t deadly, causing just a mild discomfort like a bee sting.
13. Florida Bark Scorpion (Centruroides gracilis)
The Florida bark scorpion is considered an invasive species in the state of Texas. It is a venomous scorpion, and its sting causes pain and swelling. Adverse reactions include nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and coma.
These scorpions are not as common as the bark scorpion, but their numbers have increased as they spread into residential areas.
Its name is confusing because it is not native to Florida, it’s native to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, and it was introduced in Florida. It’s a medium-length scorpion with males reaching 6 inches (150 mm).
14. Lesser Stripedtail Scorpion (Hoffmannius coahuilae)
The lesser striped tail scorpion is a small species of about 1.6 inches (40 mm) found in Texas and Northern Mexico.
It can survive in a variety of habitats and even at high altitudes around 7,000 feet (2,100 m). This species lives in desert flats, grasslands, and rocky slopes.
Like most scorpions, it likes to burrow, so you need a black light to find one under rocks or debris. When they need to defend themselves, they usually stand their ground and use a flick of their tail as a mode of defense. They have an excruciating sting. The pain usually lasts for 30 minutes, but there aren’t dangerous side effects.
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Scorpions belong to the Arachnida class of the order Scorpiones. This class includes spiders, ticks, mites, and vinegaroons. Scorpions have eight legs, a pair of pincers, and a segmented tail that ends with a stinger.
It is believed that scorpions lived over 435 million years ago. Their primary habitat is the desert, but over time they adapted and spread worldwide except in Antarctica.
Out of 2,500 species, only 25 species have potent venom that could kill a person. However, their venom can be potentially used in medicine because it contains neurotoxins. It means it can be potentially used as an analgesic or antibacterial, among other applications.
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Scorpions in Texas FAQs
Are there any poisonous scorpions in Texas?
None of the venomous scorpions in Texas affect the nervous system, which can cause death. However, the scorpions in Texas can deliver a painful sting that causes pain and swelling, and in extreme situations, vomiting and nausea.
Do you have to worry about scorpions in Texas?
Some scorpions in Texas are considered pests that create problems, but none of them are dangerous in terms of killing a person with their sting.
What happens if you get stung by a scorpion in Texas?
When you get stung by a scorpion in Texas, you might feel pain, and the stung area can swell up. In addition, you might have mild to moderate reactions like itching, redness, sweating, or vomiting.
How do I keep scorpions out of my house in Texas?
You can keep scorpions out of your house by sealing all cracks and gaps and limiting outdoor hiding places like piles of leaves. You can also declutter your living area.