What types of scorpions are found in Colorado?
All the scorpions living in Colorado are nocturnal carnivores, so they are most easily seen at night. But did you know that all scorpions glow a bright blueish color under ultraviolet light?
So many times, people take blacklights to help them find and observe scorpions!
Here are the 4 Types of Scorpions Found in Colorado:
- As a rule of thumb, scorpions with small claws and a large stinger are dangerously venomous, while those with large claws and a small stinger are less. This ID Guide will help you identify scorpions, but please seek medical attention if you get stung.
- Tiny and normally reddish-brown, but can vary in a color—segmented body shaped like a teardrop.
- Eight small legs. Large pincers that are more than twice as long as the legs.
- No stinger!
- Also known as the False Scorpion.
Have you ever seen something that looked like a scorpion but didn’t have a tail?
If you have, well, consider yourself lucky! This tiny arachnid is called a Pseudoscorpion. They are rarely seen and are considered a FALSE scorpion! The Pseudoscorpion is harmless to humans, but since they are predators, they will help keep your home free of small unwanted creatures.
Despite the name, Pseudoscorpions don’t have a tail with a venom-filled stinger. Instead, these tiny arachnids have venom in their pincers that they use to kill their prey. But you shouldn’t have any fear as they cannot harm a human, so there is no need to be afraid of this 1/8 inch (3 mm) arachnid.
Pseudoscorpions are kind of like spiders too because they can make silk! However, they don’t make webs to catch prey. Instead, they use the silk to create a cocoon to use as shelter from cold weather.
Pseudoscorpion Range Map
Pseudoscorpions are more common than you think! But since they are so tiny, they are often overlooked and live in homes. In addition, their preferred habitats include moss, leaf litter, and under stones, logs, or bark.
#2. Northern Scorpion
- Paruroctonus boreus
- Tan with dark brown stripes on the back.
- Large round pincers.
This arachnid is the most cold-tolerant scorpion in Colorado.
You will typically find Northern Scorpions near sandstone cliffs. Look for them in a variety of habitats and elevations.
Northern Scorpion Range Map
Like other scorpions in Colorado, this species feeds on small prey like insects. When they sting, venom is injected, which subdues their prey.
Northern Scorpions are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. To find them, you need to go looking under rocks in the daytime. But please be careful if you do since they have a venom-packed stinger.
Luckily, the effects of a sting are mild and similar to a hornet. You can expect localized numbness, which lasts up to four hours.
Check out this video of the Northern Scorpion in the wild!
#3. Striped Bark Scorpion
- Centruroides vittatus
- Colors vary from yellowish to light tan in adults; younger individuals are darker in color.
- Both have two broad black bands along the tops of their abdomens.
Striped Bark Scorpions are perfectly camouflaged to protect them from predators and to help them hunt for prey.
This scorpion lives in a wide variety of habitats including the desert, deciduous and coniferous forests, and temperate grasslands. Look for them in crevices under rocks, vegetation, old rural structures like sheds, and even houses during the day.
Striped Bark Scorpion Range Map
Many people come into contact with the Striped Bark Scorpion every year. Unfortunately, these encounters often happen when someone is barefoot, which can lead to being stung.
Thankfully, their sting is very rarely deadly. But it does cause a good amount of pain and swelling!
#4. Lesser Stripetail Scorpion
- Hoffmannius coahuilae
- Smaller-sized scorpions.
- They may be yellow or brown with four dark brown stripes under their tail.
- Pincers are smooth. Male pincers are thicker.
This scorpion lives in various habitats and elevations, from desert to rolling grasslands to rocky slopes in the mountains.
Lesser Stripetail Scorpion Range Map
Like other scorpions in Colorado, look for the Lesser Stripetail Scorpion under rocks or other debris. They are nocturnal and like to burrow and stay hidden during the day.
A sting from the Lesser Stripetail Scorpion causes excruciating pain, which can last for up to 30 minutes. Luckily, you should experience no severe medical side effects.
Do you need additional help identifying scorpions in Colorado?
Try this field guide!
Which of these scorpions have you seen in Colorado?
Leave a comment below!