2 Scorpion Species Found in Illinois! (w/Pics)

What types of scorpions are found in Illinois?

Common Scorpions  in Illinois

All the scorpions living in Illinois 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 2 Types of Scorpions Found in Illinois:

  • 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.

#1. Pseudoscorpion

  • Pseudoscorpiones

Common Illinois Scorpions

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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.

pseudoscorpion on finger

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

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

striped bark scorpion pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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

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!


Do you need additional help identifying scorpions in Illinois?

Try this field guide!


Which of these scorpions have you seen in Illinois?

Leave a comment below!


Check out my other guides about animals in Illinois!

2 Comments

  1. I have never heard of scorpions living in Illinois. Never too old (76) to learn something new. Thanks for that information.

  2. Hi, nice article! I am a scorpion biologist, and here is the natural distribution of the scorpion Centruroides vittatus:
    Texas (throughout), New Mexico (east of Rio Grande with rare exceptions), Oklahoma (throughout), Louisiana (west of Mississippi Embayment), Arkansas (ditto), Missouri (S 2/3), Kansas (throughout but sparse), Nebraska (KS border counties), Illinois (Monroe Co., far western Shawnee NF near Wolf Lake), Colorado (SE quarter).

    The only natural populations east of the Mississippi River are the bluffs in Monroe County, IL. Does not occur west of Continental Divide or the few rare exceptions west of the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque and Las Cruces areas but widespread in northeast Mexico in the Chihuahuan Desert.

    Misidentifications abound in GA, FL, and AL. These are Centruroides hentzi.
    Introduced populations exist in central Tennessee and South Carolina, and possibly elsewhere, but not yet reported in WY, MT, UT, NV, AZ (misidentified striped form of Centruroides sculpturatus previously known as Centruroides gertschi), or MS.

    Where did the reports from the Western states come from?

    If looking at records on the iNaturalist website, misidentifications are rampant and I have been going through them to correct mistakes.

    If you have any questions or comments about this, please feel free to contact me! I am a stickler for accurate information, especially being “broadcast” on the web.

    Thank you and have a great day!
    Kari J McWest
    Marana, AZ

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