Centruroides sculpturatus, Arizona bark scorpion, Bear Canyon, Pima County, Arizona

Arizona Bark Scorpion 

(Centruroides sculpturatus)

* Long, thin claws. 

* Elongated, narrow tail segments. 

* Generally yellowish in color but can be somewhat beige or have some areas of darker coloration. 

* Size is NOT a reliable means of identifying this species. Adult females fall just short of 3” and males can exceed 3”—larger than a lot of species in their habitat. 

* Most common visitor in residential spaces and is capable of climbing walls, trees, and shrubs.

* Only Arizona scorpion considered life threatening, though rarely kills healthy adults.

* Found throughout Arizona, up to around 7000’, except Apache County.


Paravaejovis confusus, Yellow Ground Scorpion, Maricopa County, Arizona

Yellow Ground Scorpion

(Vaejovis confusus)

*Long, thin claws similar to Arizona bark scorpion—often misidentified as such. 

Short, wide tail segments. 

* Yellowish in color. 

* Not as common as Arizona bark scorpions or stripe-tails. 

Paravaejovis spinigerus, stripetail scorpion, Catalina Foothills, Pima County, Arizona

Stripe-tailed Scorpion

(Paravaejovis spinigerus)

* Relatively short, fat claws paired with similarly short and wide tail segments. 

* May have a pronounced dark “stripes” on its tail.

* Coloration is variable, but often less bright and yellow, with brown to beige undertones. May have irregular dark blotches.

* Very common in southern Arizona. 

Hadrurus arizonensis, Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion, Maricopa County, Arizona

Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion

(Hadrurus arizonensis)

Largest scorpion in Arizona, reaching up to 5.5 inches in length. 

* Blunt, squarish head shape. 

* Dense hairs on tail and behind claws. 

* Present around Tucson but abundant in areas around Phoenix. 

* Dark body coloration with lighter legs, tail, and claws. 

Superstitionia donensis, Superstition Mountains Scorpion, Sonoran Desert, Pima County, Arizona

Superstition Mountains Scorpion

(Superstitionia donensis)

* Dark stripes present on back. Irregular dark coloration throughout. 

* Adult individuals barely exceed one inch. 

* In Tucson, these scorpions are almost only seen in mountain canyons / foothills (Tucson Mountains, Santa Catalina canyons, etc). 

* Often seen during cooler months (November through March). 

Higher Elevation Species

There are many endemic scorpions to southeast Arizona’s sky island environments. As such, the following guide is to assist with genus-level identifications.

Vaejovis cashi with scale, Cash's scorpion, Cochise County, Arizona
Vaejovis grahami juvenile, Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona

Vaejovis 

* Dark brown coloration. 

* Small in size. 

* Long, thin claws. 

* Juveniles (right) are much lighter in coloration, even smaller in size, and have the same claw structure as adults. 

* Seen mostly at pine elevation. 

Pseudouroctonus santarita female and scorplings, Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona
Pseudouroctonus santarita juvenile, Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz County, Arizona

Pseudouroctonus

* Dark brown coloration. 

* Small in size. 

* Wide, ”ballooned” claws

* Claws sometimes noticeably darker than body. 

* Juveniles (right and on mom’s back in left image) are much lighter in coloration, even smaller in size, and have the same claw structure as adults. 

* Seen mostly at pine elevation.

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