Bug Blog

Discover the Common Scorpion Species in Tucson

Tucson, with its unique desert landscape, is home to a variety of wildlife, including several species of scorpions. These arachnids are often misunderstood creatures that play an essential role in the ecosystem by controlling the insect population. Understanding the types of scorpions you may encounter in Tucson can help you appreciate the biodiversity of this region and take necessary precautions to coexist safely.

1. Arizona Bark Scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus)

The Arizona bark scorpion is the most infamous scorpion in the United States, notorious for its venomous sting. It is easily recognized by its slender, light brown body and can grow up to 3 inches in length. Unlike other scorpion species, Arizona bark scorpions can climb walls, trees, and other vertical surfaces.


These scorpions prefer moist and cool areas and are often found hiding under rocks, in tree bark, and within human dwellings.

Safety Tips:

  • Check shoes and bedding before use, especially if left on the floor.
  • Use a blacklight at night to locate them, as they glow under ultraviolet light.
  • Seal cracks and openings in your home to prevent entry.

2. Desert Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis)

The desert hairy scorpion is the largest scorpion in North America, reaching up to 6 inches in length. It has a distinctive yellow-brown color and is covered with hairs that help it detect vibrations in the ground.


This scorpion species prefers sandy soil and is commonly found in desert environments, burrowing under rocks and debris.

Safety Tips:

  • Wear gloves when moving rocks or logs in your yard.
  • Keep your yard clean to reduce hiding spots.

3. Striped tail Scorpion (Vaejovis spinigerus)

The striped tail scorpion, also known as the devil scorpion, is identified by the dark, broad stripes running the length of its tail. It is smaller than the Arizona bark and desert hairy scorpions, measuring about 2 to 3 inches in length.


Striped tail scorpions are adaptable and can be found in a variety of environments, from desert flats to mountainous areas, usually hiding under rocks and in shallow burrows.

Safety Tips:

  • Be cautious when hiking or camping, and inspect your gear before packing up.
  • Educate family members, especially children, about the importance of not touching wildlife.

Living with Scorpions

While the thought of scorpions may be unsettling, it’s important to remember that scorpions generally prefer to stay away from humans. Most scorpion stings occur when the scorpion is accidentally disturbed. The sting of most Tucson species is painful but not dangerous to humans, with the exception of the Arizona bark scorpion, whose sting can be medically significant.

Prevention and First Aid

Prevent scorpion encounters by keeping your living environment clean and free of clutter where scorpions might seek shelter. If you are stung, wash the area with soap and water, apply a cool compress, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or if you know it was an Arizona bark scorpion.