Striped-Tailed vs. Bark Scorpion

You can enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full screen image.

I’ll be out of action tomorrow and perhaps the day after.  Then, assuming nothing goes wrong, it will be business as usual.

The two most commonly seen species of scorpion in our area are the Bark Scorpion and the Stripe-tailed Scorpion, with Bark Scorpions being encountered the most.  The two species are very similar in appearance and the differences are only apparent on close examination.  Each species is about an inch and one-half in length, pale in color, and nocturnal in habits.  One almost never sees these creatures in daylight.  The Stripe-tailed Scorpion, pictured immediately below, has a somewhat thicker tail and more robust pincers than has the Bark Scorpion.  The tail also has a thin but noticeable stripe on each side, running lengthwise.

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By contrast, the Bark Scorpion is notable for its long and very weak pincers and its narrow tail.

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Bark Scorpions aren’t necessarily more common than Stripe-tailed Scorpions but one sees them more frequently because of their lifestyle.  Bark Scorpions are the species that tends to invade dwellings.  That’s because they are excellent climbers and can climb walls and easily enter homes through cracks and crevices.  Also, they are attracted to humidity and have an affinity for damp indoor places like bathrooms or the interiors of people’s shoes.

There is an important difference between these two species.  The Stripe-tailed Scorpion’s sting is momentarily painful but no more powerful than a bee sting.  By contrast, the Bark Scorpion has an extremely potent venom, a neurotoxin, and its sting can not only make individuals sick but, on very rare occasions, has been documented to be lethal.

Many people loathe and fear scorpions.  I do not.  These are truly fascinating creatures, close relatives of spiders.  They’ve been around in one form or another for well over 400 million years and are among the most successful of all living creatures.  They live on every continent except Antarctica.  They are fairly unique among arthropods in that they give birth to live young (their eggs hatch inside the females’ bodies) and that they are “maternal.”  Baby scorpions stay with their mothers for some days after birth, riding on their mothers’ backs.  These unique creatures also fluoresce when subjected to a black light.  A favorite pastime for youngsters in the Tucson area is to shine black lights on walls and rocks after dark in order to see the brilliant green fluorescence of scorpions.

Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 mm f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting.  The first image shot at ISO 250, f20 @ 1/60. The second image shot at ISO 125, f16 @ 1/160.



One response to “Striped-Tailed vs. Bark Scorpion”

  1. Sue says :

    Looks like something from a horror movie.

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