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How To Tell The Difference Between The Most Dangerous Scorpion Species That Are Frequently Found Within And Around Arizona Homes

Dozens of scorpion species inhabit the United States, the majority of which can be found west of the Mississippi River. Most scorpion species dwell far away from urban areas, and are only active at night, making them unlikely to be encountered by humans. In fact, new scorpion species are discovered in the southwest US frequently, and of the 70 to 75 species already documented in the country, experts believe many more species have yet to be discovered. Only four scorpion species are regularly encountered in urban and suburban areas of Arizona, and they are the only scorpion species that are considered pests in the state. These species are named: Hadrurus arizonensis, Centruroides exilicauda (formerly C. sculpturatus), Hoffmannius or Vaejovis coahuila and Vaejovis spinigerus, and they are more commonly known as the “desert hairy scorpion,” the “Arizona bark scorpion,” the “yellow-ground scorpion,” and the “stripe-tailed” or “devil scorpion,” respectively. Of These four species, only the Arizona bark scorpion is considered medically significant.

Due to not being well described in academic literature, many sources make no mention of yellow-ground scorpions as being common pests in Arizona, but these medically harmless scorpions are commonly found within and around homes in the southern half of the state. The desert hairy scorpion stands out among scorpion pests for its relatively massive size, which can exceed 6 inches in length. Although these scorpions are intimidating to look at, their stings are not terribly painful and they are not medically significant, but those with venom allergies may experience distressed breathing, swelling and other symptoms in response to stings.

Yellow-ground scorpions are commonly mistaken for Arizona bark and devil scorpions, as all three species are usually slightly less than three inches in length and are of similar color. However, yellow-ground and devil scorpions are a bit more robust than Arizona bark scorpions, and the back and underside of the tail of the devil scorpion features dark horizontal stripes that both Arizona bark and yellow-ground scorpions lack. Arizona bark and yellow-ground scorpions both have a similar light brown to yellowish body color, and their pincers are longer than those of devil scorpions, but yellow-ground scorpions have a lighter colored back and a bulkier tail than Arizona bark scorpions. It is also important to mention that the Arizona bark scorpion is the only scorpion species that does not burrow and is a capable climber of vertical surfaces. This is why Arizona bark scorpions often congregate on the exterior walls of homes, fall from ceilings, and are commonly found in attics, while the other species are generally found only on the ground, especially within shoes and underneath furniture.

Have you ever put on a shoe that had been occupied by a scorpion?

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When Was The Last Time Someone Died From A Scorpion Sting In Arizona, And How Deadly Were The Arachnids In The State Before The Advent Of Antivenin Treatment?

When Was The Last Time Someone Died From A Scorpion Sting In Arizona, And How Deadly Were The Arachnids In The State Before The Advent Of Antivenin Treatment?

More than 1,800 scorpion species have been documented worldwide, including 50 in the Sonoran Desert. Given the abundance of scorpion species inhabiting isolated desert areas where fauna have yet to be adequately documented, many more scorpion species likely remain undiscovered. While this may be hard to believe, new scorpion species are discovered frequently all over the world, even in Arizona. For example, a 2 inch scorpion was discovered near Tucson back in 2013, and two additional scorpion species were discovered in Arizona in 2016. Although these recently discovered scorpion species are venomous, the well documented Arizona bark scorpion is likely the only species in the US that is capable of inflicting potentially deadly sting to humans. Due to widely available medical facilities in the US, fatalities from scorpion stings almost never occur in the country, but this has not always been the case.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center collects around 12,000 scorpion sting reports per year in the state, and this high number is due to the Arizona bark scorpion’s habit of gravitating onto residential properties where dangerous encounters are apt to occur. The last known fatality resulting from a scorpion sting in Arizona occurred in 2013, and the one before that occurred a decade earlier. However, in between the years of 1926 and 1964, the Arizona bark scorpion caused 75 human deaths, and while this species can be found in smaller numbers in neighboring states, all 75 of these fatalities occurred in Arizona. This clearly indicates that Arizona bark scorpions remain a major public health threat in their native region, but fatalities are rare today due to the advent of antivenin, which is often mistakenly referred to as “antivenom.” Antivenin is a medical treatment that can save the lives of those who sustain stings inflicted by Arizona bark scorpions, and all hospitals and medical clinics in the state stock large amounts of antivenin.

Have you ever encountered an Arizona bark scorpion within your home?

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An Arizona Senator Sustains A Scorpion Sting Within Her Bed

Scorpions can be found in several states along the Gulf Coast and even as far north as Kentucky, but the most abundant and diverse scorpion populations exist in the southwest states of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and Texas. The most venomous species, which still kills scores of people every year in Mexico, is the bark scorpion, which is most abundant in Arizona, but the species can also be found in southwest New Mexico, southeast California and the southern regions of Nevada and Utah. Not even experts like entomologists and pest control professionals are exactly sure as to how many scorpion species have been documented in Arizona over the years, but the number is somewhere in between 40 and 60 species. Unfortunately, the dangerous bark scorpion is the most commonly encountered scorpion in Arizona, and it is also the species most often found within homes in the state. Hopefully, this is not the scorpion species that recently stung Arizona state Senator Sine Kerr last month while she was sleeping in her bed.

At 3:00 AM on a Tuesday morning, Senator Kerr suddenly awoke to an intense throbbing pain in her hand. As it turned out, the Senator’s left thumb had been stung by a scorpion that was crawling around within her bedding. Needless to say, the Senator did not notice the scorpion in her bed before retiring late the night before, but it many have climbed into her bed while she and her husband were sleeping. The scorpion was found below her sheets, and although it was Senator Kerr who sustained the sting, it was her husband that seemed most frightened of the arachnid, as Senator Kerr ended up squishing the fierce creature. But before she did, the Senator captured video footage of the scorpion on her phone, which she later posted to Facebook where it can still be viewed. The Senator claimed that the sting had been very painful, and it took a whole 15 hours to subside.

Do you ever check your bedding for creepy-crawlies before going to bed at night?


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A Young Arizona Boy Demonstrated Serious And Bizarre Symptoms Before Nearly Losing His Life Due To Two Bark Scorpion Stings

When the hot summer months start to arrive in Arizona so do all the creepy crawlies that you want to avoid at all cost, namely scorpions. With more scorpions out and about the number of scorpion stings increase during the summer. We know what they look like and that it is important to watch out for scorpions, but most people would not know how to recognize the symptoms of a scorpion sting in a young child. One little Arizona boy suffered from an attack from one and his parents were shocked and rather confused by his extreme symptoms. They would never have known it was caused by a scorpion sting had they not caught him with the creature still crawling on him.

10 month old Jericho Lewis began exhibiting strange symptoms after being stung by a bark scorpion, one of the most common scorpions in Arizona as well as the most venomous. His grandmother recorded the child on her cell phone, and the family shared it on the Internet to show his reaction and hopefully raise awareness of just what it might look like if your own child were to be stung and have a similar severe reaction. Without knowing he was stung by a scorpion, his reaction could easily be mistaken for a child having a temper tantrum. In fact, the boy was suffering from a severe reaction to the sting. His mother, Kelsie Lewis described his symptoms, citing his red face, trouble breathing, vomiting, and darting eyes and tongue. What might not cause much harm in an adult can easily be deadly for a small child.

Where parents might get confused is that, while Jericho was stung twice, the stings were not very red or swollen, and might have not even been noticed if he hadn’t been found with a scorpion still crawling on him. His family quickly took him to the hospital, and Jericho had to be treated with two vials of antivenom in order to get rid of his symptoms. Thankfully, after just a few days the little boy was up, happy and as talkative as if the harrowing event had never taken place.

Has your child or another child you know ever been stung by a scorpion? What was their reaction?

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Authorities Closed a Busy Street In An Effort To Protect Frightened Residents From A Scorpion That Turned Out To Be A Rubber Toy

Scorpions are the most venomous group of arachnids, but luckily, they are rarely spotted in urban areas. In the United States, the most well known scorpion species, the Arizona bark scorpion, is widespread all across the southwest. This species is well known for its highly toxic venom, which is potentially deadly to humans. The numerous other scorpion species in the US can be found within the southern half of the country.

Since scorpions avoid the daylight by hiding under rocks during the day and hunting at night, people rarely come into contact with them. It is unusual to find scorpion infestations within structures located in urban areas, but this happens on occasion during the summer months in southwestern cities. Considering the potential danger that scorpions pose to humans, scorpion sightings in urban areas are taken seriously by public health officials. For example, not long ago, residents of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom became alarmed after learning that a scorpion had been spotted in the city’s downtown area. Several pedestrians kept their distance from the scorpion specimen as it remained motionless on sidewalk pavement. After several calls to animal control authorities by concerned and frightened residents, officials cordoned the street where the scorpion had been found. As it turned out, the panic was all for nothing, as the frightening scorpion turned out to be a rubber toy.

Animal control professional, Paula Jones, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, received a call from a concerned resident who claimed to have seen a red scorpion on a sidewalk in the downtown area. After receiving several other similar calls from residents who had been concerned with the danger that the scorpion posed to the public, Jones had the entire busy street where the specimen was found closed-off to traffic and pedestrians. When Jones approached the alleged scorpion, she found that it was only a rubber toy, which explained why it had remained motionless during the whole ordeal. Considering that scorpions dwell in regions located far away from the United Kingdom, and that no scorpion species’ body is completely covered in a red hue, perhaps experts should have had their suspicions about this alleged scorpion sighting from the start.

Do realistic-looking toy arachnids or insects creep you out?


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Which Scorpion Species Are The Most Deadly?

If you have ever lived, or have gone camping in dry and arid regions, then you were likely made aware of the threat of scorpions. Although there exists a multitude of scorpion species, most of them are not life-threatening to humans. In most cases, a brutally painful sting is the worst that would happen if you were to, say, put on a shoe containing a scorpion. Many people wrongly assume that a scorpion’s body size is indicative of their venomous potential. Apparently, the bigger the scorpion, the more venomous people assume it to be. Although large-bodied scorpions may be the scariest scorpions to look at, body size is not, in any way, indicative of a scorpion’s venom-toxicity. For example, the emperor scorpion can grow to be a whopping eight inches in length, but they are relatively safe. In fact, many people keep emperor scorpions as pets. However, there are a few scorpion species that can, indeed, cause human fatalities.

The most venomous scorpion species in the world may be the Indian red scorpion. This species is typically cited by experts as being the most dangerous scorpion to humans. Victims of Indian red scorpion stings will likely experience nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and, in more severe cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema causes shortness of breath and it can lead to death. Luckily, a drug known as prazosin can decrease mortality rates from these stings.

If you want to know which scorpion sting is among the most painful, look no further than the aptly named “deathstalker scorpion.” This scorpion species is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Sting victims will experience increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, and even convulsions and coma. Children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals can die as a result of this scorpion’s sting. Finally, there is the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion. This scorpion species has been known for killing children and people with heart conditions. For those not afflicted with a heart condition, the worst that will happen upon receiving a sting from a fat-tailed scorpion include unconsciousness, hypertension and seizures. If medical treatments are not sought out within a seven hour timeframe, death is likely to result from this scorpion’s sting.

Have you ever sustained a sting from a scorpion?

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You Would Not Believe What The World’s Most Venomous Scorpion Sting Can Do To A Small Child

The venom of an Indian red scorpion is, by far, the most toxic of all scorpion venoms, even more so than the venom produced by the notorious deathstalker scorpion and the Arizona bark scorpion. In addition to being the most toxic, and therefore, the most deadly form of venom, red scorpion venom, when injected into a human, causes physical symptoms more rapidly than any other scorpion venom. These scorpions pose a serious threat to villagers in India, as transportation is usually not available to these populations and small villages are normally located far from medical facilities where red scorpion stings can be treated. Most victims of red scorpion stings are Indian adults living in small agrarian villages, as most villagers go barefoot while working on local farms, therefore increasing the chances of contact between bare skin and red scorpions. Also, since these rural villages are lacking in modern construction and other forms of urban development, red scorpions dwell in close proximity to villagers and their homes. In addition to being the most scorpion affected group of people in India, rural villagers also die from red scorpion stings at greater rates than other Indian populations, as rural villagers often choose to address their scorpion stings by visiting local spiritual healers as opposed to visiting a medical facility, as urban residents almost always do. By visiting local spiritual healers before seeking modern medical aid, sting victims sometimes die before arriving at a hospital. While most red scorpion sting victims are adults, it is not uncommon for children, toddlers and even babies to be stung by these scorpions. As you can imagine, children suffer far worse than adults in response to a red scorpion sting.

A 2016 study described how being administered a common medicine called prazosin dramatically lowered the death rate of children stung by Indian red scorpions. Although prazosin has saved many lives, young victims of red scorpion stings almost always experience a range of terribly painful and life-threatening physical symptoms. These symptoms include pedal edema (the buildup of fluid in the legs and feet), pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), liver enlargement and cardiac failure. These symptoms are not uncommon. In fact, out of 40 children who had been hospitalized after sustaining a red scorpion sting, 80 percent experienced peripheral circulatory failure, and 15 percent developed myocarditis (swelling of the heart). One child also arrived to the hospital already dead, as his parents visited a spiritual healer first. Strangely, 5 percent of these children experienced priapism, which occurs when blood fails to exit the erectile tissues. This condition, unless treated in time, can result in lifelong impotence in males.

Have you or anyone you know ever sustained a scorpion sting of any kind? If so, was it medically serious?

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The Most Venomous Scorpion Species Is Not The One You Think

The Most Venomous Scorpion Species Is Not The One You Think

The United States is home to numerous scorpion species, the most dangerous of which is the Arizona bark scorpion. Despite this species’ highly toxic venom, it is not the most dangerous species known to exist in the world. For those who fear scorpion bites, be thankful that you do not live in India, which is home to the world’s most dangerous scorpion species.

It is often claimed that the notoriously venomous and aptly named deathstalker scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion species to humans, and while an argument can be made to support this claim, many experts would insist that the Indian red scorpion deserves the title of the world’s most deadly scorpion. As its common name suggests, this scorpion species is mainly found in India, but populations are also found in neighboring Pakistan and Nepal.

The Indian red scorpion sting can cause a plethora of unpleasant symptoms such as  nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and in some cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The chances of dying from a red scorpion bite depends on the amount of venom injected into a wound, but in many cases, stings are fatal. However, when the blood pressure medication called prazosin is administered to sting victims within a quick enough timeframe, fatality rates decrease to only 4 percent. Deaths from Indian red scorpion stings most often result from fluid buildup within the lungs, which is certainly not a pleasant way to go out. Despite this species being well studied for several decades, experts are still not sure as to how the venom triggers such violent physiological reactions in humans and other animals. This species of scorpion is rarely encountered in Pakistan and Nepal, but unfortunately for citizens of India, red scorpions are often found nesting near human settlements.

Have you ever encountered a potentially deadly arachnid of any species in the wild?



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Persian Kings Paid Bounties For Dead Scorpions As An Ancient Form Of Pest Control

Persian Kings Paid Bounties For Dead Scorpions As An Ancient Form Of Pest Control

Who has not, at one point in life, chosen a favorite animal? Children are especially opinionated when it comes to this topic, but even many adults favor one particular type of animal over others. Monkeys, lions, bears or wolves are common animal favorites, but it is rare to hear anybody speak highly of scorpions. This is not hard to understand, as scorpions are unsightly creatures that are notorious for delivering painful and sometimes deadly stings. Not surprisingly, scorpions have been universally hated for ages. Some of the earliest surviving texts from the Roman era have contained passages that describe scorpions with great disdain. A couple thousand years ago, scorpions caused many problems for both Romans and Persians. Persians were especially ill-disposed toward scorpions, as they inhabited desert regions where scorpion species were abundant and diverse.

The ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder described scorpions as being “worse than a plague.” Elder further described how scorpion stings were worse than viper stings, as scorpion sting-victims would suffer in agony for three days before finally dying from the toxic effects of venom. Another Roman historian, Aelian, wrote about the unfortunate abundance of scorpion life in middle-eastern regions where the creatures could be found beneath every rock in the desert. Although this may be an exaggeration, scorpions posed a serious threat to those traveling along the historic trade route known as the Silk Road and other caravan routes. This meant that shipments from Asia would sometimes be held up by deadly scorpion attacks. This problem was serious enough for Persian kings to put bounties on dead scorpions. These bounties resulted in numerous scorpion hunts where the highest bounties would be paid to the individuals who captured the greatest number of scorpions. Aelian wrote about winged scorpions, and winged scorpions were depicted on different forms of early Mesopotamian art.

Of course, we can be grateful that flying scorpions do not actually exist, nor have they ever existed. Modern scholars believe that ancient historians mistakenly referred to venomous flying insects as scorpions. However, Pliny the Elder was the first Roman historian who hypothesized that so called “winged scorpions” were actually normal scorpions being pushed through the air by strong wind gusts during sandstorms. This may be the case, as airborne scorpions will straighten their legs to resemble wings during sandstorms.

Given the scorpion’s lobster-like pincers, do you believe that scorpions share a close lineage with aquatic arthropods as opposed to winged arthropods?

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Scorpions Stings Are A Major Public Health Concern In Many Countries

A recent survey found that scorpions are more commonly feared than spiders, at least when it comes to American college students. This fear is justified, as scorpion related health emergencies are far more common than medical emergencies involving spiders and insects. In fact, scorpion stings are even more prevalent than snake bites. Here in the United States, scorpions are by no means rare, as there exists numerous different scorpion species dwelling along the southern most American states from California and Arizona, where scorpion species are most diverse and abundant, to North Carolina and Tennessee. The farther east one travels along the southern US border, the more benign scorpion species become. While there exists two scorpion species in the US that have the potential to kill humans, the most dangerous scorpion species is undoubtedly the Arizona bark scorpion. Although the rate of scorpion related injuries is high in the US when compared to other arthropod fatalities, the countries of Africa, India, the Middle East, Mexico, and South America see much higher scorpion fatality rates.

When taking the entire world into account, the annual rate of scorpion stings is around 1.2 million and 3,250 of these stings result in death. To put this in perspective, for every person killed by a snake, ten people are killed by a scorpion sting. The country of Mexico has a particularly high rate of scorpion related fatalities, as these fierce looking arachnids take the lives of 1000 people every year in the country. Considering that the US shares a border with Mexico, one would think that the rate of scorpion fatalities would be be as high in the US as it is in Mexico, but this is not the case, as only 4 scorpion related deaths have occured in the US during the past 11 years. California and Arizona see the greatest number of scorpion related hospital visits, while the scorpion species in the southeast US are largely harmless and rarely seen.

Have you ever spotted a scorpion species in the southeast US?