A recent study found that most people are more fearful of scorpions than spiders, and this is true of people living in regions where no scorpions exist. Luckily, very few of the world’s more than 2,000 documented scorpion species are dangerous to humans, and only one medically significant scorpion species can be found in the US. Determining the true number of scorpion species that inhabit the US is difficult, as researchers believe that many species have yet to be discovered in the country, and the species that have been documented are hard to distinguish phylogenetically. Most sources state that around 30 scorpion species have been documented in Arizona, while 50 scorpion species have been documented as inhabiting the desert southwest. Researchers with the University of Arizona state that at least 100 scorpion species can be found throughout the US, making the fearful arachnids more diverse outside of the southwestern states than most people assume. When taking all states into account, scorpion species are most diverse in Arizona where the largest sized, and the only dangerous scorpion species can be found.
The Arizona bark scorpion is the most venomous, and the only medically significant scorpion species in North America. Unfortunately, many Arizona residents have learned first hand that Arizona bark scorpions have a tendency to congregate on the interior and exterior walls of homes. These scorpions enter homes by slipping beneath doorways, through window vents and through small cracks and crevices on exterior walls where they often gain access to indoor wall voids. Once Arizona bark scorpions access wall voids, their indoor numbers tend to increase dramatically, and large populations can be well supported on irrigated lawns. The Arizona bark scorpion can be recognized for its light brownish-yellow color and 3 inch body length, which makes this species relatively small. The largest scorpion species in North America, the giant hairy scorpion, is similar in color to the Arizona bark scorpion, but the former grows to be around 5.5 inches in length and has a darker color along the top of its body. The giant desert hairy scorpion is also considered a stinging pest that may appear in or around a household. Although this species inflicts a painful sting, it is not considered medically significant, but those with an allergy to venom should consider all scorpions potentially dangerous.
Have you ever found a scorpion in your bedding?