While we commonly associate scorpions with dry, hot climates, such as desert regions, some species prefer Florida’s humid conditions. Scorpions in Florida range from small species found throughout the state to others that are confined to specific counties. These elongated arachnids prefer hiding in crevices and dark, moist locations, so you definitely have to watch out in case you find one in your home and get stung!
Plenty of people in the state keep various species of scorpions as pets and it’s easy to understand why. For starters, they glow in the dark under ultraviolet (UV) light and have interesting dancing rituals for mating. However, Floridians will also eat scorpions! When visiting Miami, don’t be surprised if you see fried scorpions or scorpions on a stick for sale.
Below we will look at 6 scorpions in Florida that you could find out in the wild. Let’s learn more about them!
6 scorpions in Florida
The 6 species of scorpions you can find in Florida are the Hentz striped scorpion, Florida bark scorpion, Guiana striped scorpion, southern devil scorpion, bark scorpion, and striped bark scorpion.
1. Hentz striped scorpion
Scientific name: Centruroides hentzi
Hentz striped scorpions are the most common in Florida. They live in various habitats, including grasslands, pine forests, and deserts. You can typically find them resting under logs, wood piles, rocks, or loose bark. However, you won’t find them in the Lower Keys area.
They are the smallest on this list, growing up to 2 inches and averaging 0.5 to 0.75 inches. These scorpions are dark brown or tan and typically have a yellow to green stripe on either side of their body. Their sting is very painful and symptoms, such as swelling, can continue for 2 days.
2. Florida bark scorpion
Scientific name: Centruroides gracilis
The Florida bark scorpion, also known as the brown bark scorpion or slender brown scorpion, is the largest species in Florida, growing up to 4 inches. They have brown bodies with yellow or orange dashes on their back and light legs that are reddish to orange.
These scorpions can be found throughout the state, but more so in the lower two-thirds. They prefer the most tropical habitats where they feed on spiders, termites, and other small insects. Although their sting is not as venomous as some other bark scorpion species, it is still very painful.
3. Guiana striped scorpion
Scientific name: Centruroides guanensis
The Guiana striped scorpion also called the keys bark scorpion, is medium-sized, growing to 3 inches. Their bodies are mostly yellow with different patterns or coloration. If you get stung, the pain and other symptoms can last between 1 and 5 hours.
These scorpions are limited to certain areas in Florida. You can typically find them in the Keys and around Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties. They prefer hiding under bark, stones, or vegetation. Don’t expect them to live long, however, since they have a short lifespan of 2 to 3 years.
4. Southern devil scorpion
Scientific name: Vaejovis carolinianus
The southern devil scorpion, also called the southern unstriped scorpion, is dusty-brown to reddish without patterns. They grow up to 2.6 inches and can live around 7 to 8 years.
Unlike most scorpions that prefer dry, arid habitats, these scorpions like the humid conditions in the southeastern states. You can find them throughout Florida, near rocky hillsides, brick walls, leaf-covered areas, and log piles. They are shy and prefer running and hiding than attacking, but may sting you if you disturb their shelter. While their venom isn’t dangerous to humans, it’s still very painful.
5. Bark scorpion
Scientific name: Centruroides margaritatus
The bark scorpion is a medium to large scorpion, growing between 2.5 to 3.75 inches. Their body, pincers, and the tip of their tails are black to dark reddish-brown, with their limbs a yellow to yellow-brown color.
While native to the Bahamas and Central and South America, there have been colonies introduced into the wild of Florida. These scorpions prefer living near tree bark and are quite acrobatic since they prefer resting and feeding upside down while holding onto the bark. They are also communal scorpions that will hunt together.
6. Striped bark scorpion
Scientific name: Centruroides vittatus
This medium-sized scorpion grows around 2.8 inches and is pale yellow or tan with dark stripes on their back and black on the tip of their stingers. They are one of the scorpions people in the United States encounter the most, especially getting stung.
Although not common in Florida, there have been sightings of this species, especially in the habitats they prefer, including forests and grasslands. Their coloring lets them camouflage with their surroundings. However, they also prefer to hide under vegetation, in rock crevices, or under homes and old structures.