Arizona Is The State That Sees The Greatest Number Of Venomous Arthropod Species
Generally, warmer regions of the world see a greater number of venomous arthropods than colder regions of the world. Knowing this, it should not come as a surprise to learn that Arizona sees the greatest number of venomous arthropod species when compared to the other 49 US states, at least according to the Hazardous Animal Database. This database was created by the Armed Forces Pest Management Board, and it includes 500 venomous species worldwide that have been known to cause serious injury or death to humans.
Venomous arthropods in Arizona include scorpions, tarantulas, honey bees, wasps and spiders. There are several scorpion and tarantula species in Arizona, but none of these species will cause serious medical complications or fatalities except for the Arizona bark scorpion. Honey bee stings have led to hospitalizations and fatalities all over the US, but Arizona is one of only a few states where the aggressive and often deadly Africanized honey bee resides. In fact, studies show that all Arizona honey bees are now “Africnaized” due to nearly 30 years of interbreeding between common honey bees and Africanized honey bees.
The potentially deadly southern black widow species is abundant in Arizona, and the non-native brown widow has been spotted throughout the southern half of the state. Brown widows are not quite as dangerous as black widows, but their bites should not be taken lightly, and fatalities have occurred in response to brown widow bites. While the notoriously harmful and potentially deadly brown recluse cannot be found in Arizona, five other recluse species inhabit the state, out of the 13 total found in the US. This makes Arizona home to more recluse species than can be found in any other state.
The five brown recluse species in Arizona include L. apachea and L. sabina in the far southeastern corner of the state and L. kaipa, L. deserta, and L. arizonica in the western half of the state. With the exception of L. arizonica and L. deserta, these recluse species dwell in uninhabited regions where they are not likely to be encountered by people. However, a few documented reports described bites by other recluse species in the US as being just as harmful as brown recluse bites. Of all venomous arthropods in Arizona, Africanized honey bees cause the most annual fatalities.
Have you ever encountered a venomous arthropod?