What types of scorpions are found in Utah?
All the scorpions living in Utah 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!
5 Types of Scorpions in Utah:
- 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 Utah.
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 Utah, 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. Arizona Bark Scorpion
- Centruroides Sculptuatuas
- Yellowish tan or brownish with a broad body that tapers down to its distinctive curled thinner tail.
- The abdomen has two stripes.
- Two large pincers.
Arizona Bark Scorpions are commonly found in logs (hence the name), woodpiles, under rocks, and inside houses. They are great climbers and like to hang upside down. These scorpions prefer darker places and may be hiding in your drawers, dark cabinets, tub, barn, attic, or other structures.
This species is the most venomous scorpion in Utah.
Arizona Bark Scorpion Range Map
If you should be stung by the Striped Bark Scorpion, it will feel similar to a bee or wasp sting. However, you won’t experience more than temporary sharp or burning pain for about 30 minutes, and medical care is rarely necessary.
BUT, sometimes the sting can cause an allergic reaction, leading to severe abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, seizures, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. If you experience these symptoms, then seek medical attention right away!
#5. Giant Hairy Desert Scorpion
- Hadrurus arizonensis
- Large and hairy. Yellow with a dark back and pale yellow between the eyes.
- Crab-like claws and a long bristly stinger-tipped tail.
- Also known as the Arizona Desert Hairy Scorpion and the Giant Hairy Scorpion.
The Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion is the largest scorpion in Utah
This scorpion’s size allows it to feed on various larger prey, including lizards, snakes, and other scorpions. It also has been known to take down or fight with giant centipedes.
Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion Range Map
You will find these nocturnal scorpions in rocky deserts and arid foothills in Utah.
These scorpions like to burrow and search for moisture. They spend their days under boards, rocks, and other debris on the ground and sometimes in a deep burrow.
The Arizona Desert Hairy Scorpion is venomous, but it only causes local pain, similar to a honey bee sting. However, you could be allergic to the venom, and that could be fatal. Symptoms include difficultly breathing, excessive swelling, and prolonged pain.
This scorpion is unique because of its very different mating dance called the promenade a deux. First, the male finds a mate, and they grasp each other with their claws and pull back and forth. Once that is done, the male deposits a sperm packet on the ground, then the female picks it up with her reproductive organs.
Young scorpions are born alive and crawl onto their mother’s back and stay there for about two weeks.
Do you need additional help identifying scorpions in Utah?
Try this field guide!
Which of these scorpions have you seen in Utah?
Leave a comment below!