Striped Scorpion Surprise

Striped Scorpion - © 2013 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This morning I found this little Striped Scorpion (Centruroides vittatus) in the gravel near our front porch.  Although they might look quite ferocious, these tiny, one and a half inch arachnids are shy and rarely seen.  This one wanted nothing to do with me and wanted nothing more than to hide as I attempted to take it’s photograph.  Even after nudging it into the open several times, it never once tried to sting me. 

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, “A scorpion has a pair of eyes in the middle of its back, as well as two to five additional pairs of eyes along the front edge of its body. Even though they have a lot of eyes, scorpions have poor vision. They make up for this by having tiny sensitive hairs on their pinchers that help them detect motion.  In addition, scorpions have strange comb-like structures called pectines on their underside, which are unique to scorpions. The pectines are sensitive to touch, to ground vibrations and perhaps even to sound.”

In all my years of living in these Ozark hills, this is the first time I have ever seen a scorpion.  I was surprised by how small they really are!  I went back to the MDC to find out more about how venomous these little arachnids might be. 

The rocks around this little striped scorpion are smooth pea gravel, which shows just how small these little arachnids are.

“Scorpions are venomous, and although the sting is quite painful, it is almost never life-threatening. However, just as with bee and wasp stings, some people can respond with an allergic reaction that requires medical attention. Scorpions are secretive and would rather flee than sting.”

“Scorpions prefer glades with lots of loose rock (such as limestone or dolomite glades) so that they can hide from the sun during the day.

Among the most ancestral of arachnids, scorpions first appear in the fossil record as aquatic animals during the Silurian period, about 430 million years ago, about the same time the first bony fishes appeared. Some of these scorpions were among the first animals to live on land.”

So, if you happen upon one of these rare invertebrates, admire its uniqueness and then allow it to run and hide.  You’ll probably never see it again.   

Quotes from the MDC can be found on their webpage for the Striped Scorpion.


The Garden Seed Saving Guide by Jill HendersonExcerpted in part from my book:
The Garden Seed Saving Guide

Whether you’re a weekend gardener, homesteader, or serious survivalist, saving seeds is a money saving skill that every green-thumb should to have. An excellent resource for beginners and experienced gardeners alike, The Garden Seed Saving Guide takes you step-by-step through every aspect of saving seeds. If you want to save money, become more self-sufficient and avoid genetically modified food crops, The Garden Seed Saving Guide is for you.  Available in the Show Me Oz Bookstore


Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz . Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore. Jill’s work has also appeared in The Permaculture Activist, The Essential Herbal, Acres USA, and Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac.


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4 responses to “Striped Scorpion Surprise

  1. Interesting, but unnerving. I am one of those highly allergic people…..one stung me in OK , and I tried to go into anaphylactic shock…..
    Good job, Jill, as usual….

    • Sorry to hear that, Di! Bad enough to be stung, but to be allergic, too. Good thing these are rarely seen! Thanks for reminding me that I neglected to mention that some people do, indeed, experience anaphylactic shock from scorpion stings – this is because they, like spiders, are arachnids.

  2. I finally got rid of a giant hairy desert scorpion in my quarters last month. It was over 8″ long with its claws and tail stretched out. And that was the second one of the summer in here. We also get solpugids up to 3″ long, giant poison centipedes up to 10″ long and posonous wall-climbing bark scorpions. (shudder)

    The cats all stay away. They know better.

    • Sounds like you have some very large critters running around your place! Not sure what desert you are currently residing in, but I grew up in the California deserts and learned an awful lot about little things that can really hurt you – large scorpions, tarantulas and rattlesnakes – but I have never heard of a solpugid until your comment. Can’t wait to read up on those little fellas…whew! At least where I am now, most of those kinds of creatures come in small sizes and are seldom seen! Best of luck to you and your kitties!

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