What type of scorpions are found in Florida?
All the scorpions living in Florida 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 out in the desert to help them find and observe scorpions!
Check out my other guides about animals in Florida!
Here are the 5 Types of Scorpions Found in Florida:
- 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. 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!
#3. Southern Unstriped Scorpion
- Vaejovis carolinianus
- Dark reddish-brown body, pincers, and tail. Legs are tan and short.
- Pincers are thick and long. The tail is very wide with a big stinger.
- Also known as the Southern Devil Scorpion.
You can typically find the Southern Unstriped Scorpion in humid climates. They can be found in leaf piles or under stones and wood stacks in Florida.
Southern Unstriped Scorpion Range Map
This scorpion often enters homes, and they are commonly found in crawlspaces or cellars. Make sure to check your shoes before putting them on in the morning just in case they’re hiding there!
Stings are rare, but not unheard of.
But here is the good news:
The venom of the Southern Devil Scorpion is almost never lethal. Typical symptoms are swelling, redness, mild pain, and tenderness. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen, as you may be allergic!
#4. Giant Whip Scorpion
- Mastigoproctus giganteus
- Completely black. Their two front legs are antenna-like.
- Their two large appendages are more like claws instead of pincers.
- A long, thin, whip-like tail that lacks a stinger (hence their name).
- Also known as Giant Vinegaroon and Grampus.
The Giant Whip Scorpion is called a scorpion but is missing the venom-filled stinger that most other scorpions in Florida possess. You can find them in thorn scrub, oak, and pine forest habitats.
Giant Whip Scorpion Range Map
The Giant Whip Scorpion has poor eyesight and relies on its two antenna-like front legs to feel around and detect vibrations to find its prey. Once a victim is located, they use their claw-like pedipalps to crush them to help them consume it.
This scorpion prefers to hunt for various insects, termites, worms, slugs, cockroaches, and other arachnids. They also have been seen eating tiny frogs and toads.
- Related: The 16 Types of Frogs In Florida!
The Giant Whip Scorpion can spray a powerful acid from their anus, which is located on the tip of their tail. This defense strategy sounds like science fiction, but it’s used commonly when they feel threatened.
Oddly enough, this scorpion is often sold in the exotic animal trade as pets. Good thing they aren’t venomous!
#5. Tailless Whip Scorpion
- Colors vary from the blackish-brown or dark brown.
- Large, wide, and flat body with long skinny legs and pincers.
- The name “amblypygid” means “blunt tail.” It lacks a stinging tail like a typical scorpion.
- Also known as a Whip Spider or Cave Spider.
This creepy crawler looks like a spider and is called a scorpion, but it is neither. This species lacks silk glands to make silk or a tail with a venom-filled stinger. The best part about these arachnids is they aren’t harmful to humans!
Tailless Whip Scorpions are found in arid and tropical environments. Even though they’re not actual scorpions, they act similarly in several ways, which is why they are included on this list.
Tailless Whip Scorpion Range Map
This arachnid is nocturnal and spends its days hiding under leaf litter or inside caves, waiting for nightfall to hunt and eat its prey. If you expose one by lifting the stone it’s hiding under; it will run sideways, like a crab, to escape and seek shelter elsewhere. They are speedy runners!
It is surprising with eight eyes that the Whip Scorpion would have poor eyesight; it is like nature’s sick joke. But this species does not go hungry, as it uses its first pair of legs as antennas (like whips) to help find prey, such as large insects, frogs, small animals, and spiders.
This species is scary looking but very fascinating, and many people have them as pets. And if this species seems familiar to you, it might be because this arthropod was featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Do you need additional help identifying scorpions in Florida?
Try this field guide!
Which of these scorpions have you seen in Florida?
Leave a comment below!