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SCORPIONS (Vinegaroon, Solifugae, Solpugid, Camel Spider)
Behavior - Threats - Prevention

 
  DID YOU KNOW?
   
Scorpions are non-insect arthropods belonging to the arachnid family.
   
Scorpions are noctural and come out at night to feed on other insects.
   
Despite their menacing appearance, scorpions are not aggressive hunters. They lie and wait for their next meal.
   
There are 13 families of scorpions comprising more than 1,400 species worldwide.
   
Scorpions generally try to run away when exposed or confronted by people.
   
A scorpion’s life span ranges between three and five years, but have been known to live 10 to 15 years.
   
Large rounded pinchers often indicate a non-poisonous scorpion while small slender pinchers indicate a poisonous species.
   
There are no scorpions in Texas considered lethal to man.
   
The Arizona bark scorpion is the only deadly scorpion present in the U.S.
   
Scorpions are found on every continent except Antarctia, but dry climates are their favorite.
   
Scorpions dislike temperatures over 100°F, so it’s common to find them under rocks, boards and in shaded debris.
   
Scorpions need water, but can survive months without food.
   
Scorpions will glow under ultraviolet light.
     
ScorpionScorpions are no doubt a frightening pest. They have a pair of pincer brearing arms, four pair of legs, and an elongated, segmented tail with a bulb-like, venomous stinger at the tip. Scorpions are quite common in much of the southwestern U.S. because of their preference of warm dry climates.

The most frequently encountered scorpion in the El Paso region is the striped bark scorpion. The adult version of this scorpion averages about 2-1/2 inches in length and is identifiable by two broad stripes running lengthwise on the upper surface of its body and a triangular mark on its head. Body color of an adult varies from yellowish to tan while younger specimens may be lighter in overall color. Key recognition characteristics for this species are its slender pincers and long slender tail.

SCORPION BEHAVIOR
Scorpions are nocturnal, hiding during the day and becoming active at night, although they can also be seen during the day where it is cool and moist. This behavior helps them manage temperature and water balance, which are important functions for survival in dry habitats.

Like spiders, scorpions are often found in dark undisturbed habitats. They feed at night and often emerge from hiding to prey upon ground-inhabiting insects and other small animals such as rodents or lizards. Their bodies are flat, which allows them to hide in small cracks and under stones, bark, wood, or other objects on the ground. From these hiding places they wait or search for prey. They are able to detect prey by sensing the victim's vibrations as they move.

SCORPION STINGS
Scorpions generally will try to run away when exposed or confronted by people, but because of the scorpion's preference for hiding in dry dark places, a human may unwittingly disturb a it and receive a sting in defense. In the outdoors, stings often occur because a person exposes a scorpion by moving a rock or debris. In the home, scorpions often hide within clothing or shoes stored in dark closets, and when the clothing is put on, the scorpion stings in self-defense.

The stings from Texas scorpions produce only moderate reactions in most people because the poison has little effect on the nervous system. The effects of most scorpion stings can range from something similar to a bee sting to a really painful sting accompanied by swelling and other symptoms. Severity of the sting is dependent upon the individual scorpion and the person’s reaction to the venom. A person who is stung by a scorpion should be watched closely for adverse reactions. As with any arthropod venom, allergic reactions are possible. An ice pack applied to the affected area will relieve some pain. If swelling and/or pain persists or if breathing difficulties occur, immediate medical attention is necessary.

SCORPION CONTROL
To successfully control indoor scorpions, it’s essential to manage the scorpions outside the home. Sealing off all of the outdoor cracks on the home with caulk or another sealant is very important. Check weather stripping around doors and make sure there are no gaps. Also, reducing the number of outdoor hiding places for scorpions is important. Remove debris such as loose rocks, wood, trash and other unnecessary things from the backyard and around the home. Identify leaky water sources, repairing any leaks to eliminate the moisture they need. Scorpions are also capable of climbing so make sure that trees and bushes don’t reach all the way to the walls of your home. It’s also beneficial to keep the grass mowed short and all shrubbery nicely pruned.

Scorpions eat insects, so keep the house insect free by treating for pests such as crickets, roaches and spiders that scorpions typically feed on. If, for some reason, the population of scorpions becomes uncontrollable, a local pest control specialist should be brought in to provide a specialized treatment procedure to maximize the elimination of scorpions.
 
 
Striped Bark Scorpion
STRIPED BARK SCORPION
Also known as the Texas Bark Scorpion, this scorpion is the most common and widespread species found in the El Paso region. Their stings, though not deadly, are painful and produce local swelling and itching that may persist for several days.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Texas Bark ScorpionThe venom of the Striped Bark Scorpion is a complex mixture of more than 100 neurotoxins which paralyze its prey. One of these toxins is 1,000 times more deadly than cyanide. The sting of this animal is extremely painful, but usually not fatal. However, there are a few rare cases where humans have died from anaphylactic shock triggered by the scorpion’s powerful venom.

They are known for their intricate courtship activities that may last for hours. The two scorpions grasp each other's pincers and jaws and dance back and forth. Finally, the male deposits a sac of sperm on the ground and pulls the female over it. Then, she picks the sac up with a special organ on her abdomen and fertilization occurs.

The Striped Bark Scorpion has a long breeding season that runs from autumn through early summer. Gestation lasts eight months, and then they give live birth to as many as 50 young. The young climb onto their mother’s back after birth and until the first molt.
 
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Striped Tail Scorpion
STRIPED TAIL SCORPION
Also known as the Devil Scorpion, the Striped-tail Scorpion is not native to this area. It can be recognized by the dark stripes running along the underside of its thick tail. This is the most common scorpion in Arizona and is venomous, but not considered dangerous.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Stripetail ScorpionThese are known as "ground scorpions" because they are most often found under rocks and in moist places. Typically found under surface objects such as sleeping bags, shoes, etc. where it digs a short burrow or “scrape” for protection. This species is normally a burrower, digging burrows about one meter deep in gravel soils. These scorpions are not good climbers like the Striped Bark Scorpion.

The Stripedtail Scorpion is roughly the same overall length as the Bark Scorpion (2.5 inches or a bit larger), but its body parts are definitively bulkier. The striped tail is thicker, the body broader, the pedipalp pincers much more swollen and the arm-parts thicker. Its body color is also darker.
 
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Whip Tail Scorpion
WHIPTAIL SCORPION
Also known as Vinegaroon, the whip scorpion is not poisonous but can pinch with its mouthparts. The tail is long and thin suggesting a whip and the Texas species is nearly black in color. The vinegaroon is capable of spraying a vinegar like mist from scent glands at the base of the tail.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
VinegaroonDespite its pinchers and body shape, a vinegaroon is not a true scorpion. It is its own unique type of arachnid. Vinegaroons dig burrows under logs, rocks, or even just in the ground. They like dark places to hide in. The darker a place is, the better a whip scorpion likes it!

At about 3 inches long, the vinegaroon is nocturnal and has poor vision. The whiplike tail is used as a sensory organ, as are its two front legs, which are not for walking but used like antenna to feel their way around. Although very unlikely to attack humans, a whip scorpion can certainly defend itself if provoked. The heavy pinching mouthparts (modified pedipalps) can also inflict a painful bite.

The mist produced by the whip-tail scorpion contains 85% concentrated acetic acid or vinegar, hence the name "vinegaroon."
 
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Wind Scorpion
WIND SCORPION
Also known as camel spiders, sun spiders or solpugids. They lack venom and are harmless, however, they have formidable jaws. They are usually one to three inches long, yellow to tan, and very hairy. They are also very fast, voracious predators.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Camel SpiderThe camel spider is an arachnid but not actually a spider. Another common name is wind scorpion, but it’s not a scorpion, either. The camel spider is of the Solifugae order, which is Latin for “those who flee from the sun.” Solifugae live in dry, desert climates, have powerful fangs, and a segmented abdomen.

Though camel spiders appear to have ten legs, they actually have eight. The two extra leg-like appendages are sensory organs. Camel spiders can reach up to six inches in length and weigh about two ounces. They have large, powerful jaws, which they use to catch prey. Their jaws can be up to one-third of their body length.

These desert dwellers are not deadly to humans (though their bite is painful), but they are vicious predators that feast upon insects, rodents, lizards, and small birds. They use them to seize their victims and turn them to pulp with a chopping or sawing motion. Camel spiders are not venomous, but they do utilize digestive fluids to liquefy their victims' flesh, making it easy to suck the remains into their stomachs.
 
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