3 Types of Scorpions in Louisiana (Pictures)

Louisiana may bring images of bayous, moss, and alligators, but some don’t know that the state is home to a few scorpion species. Luckily for residents of Louisiana, there are only a few species of scorpion found in the state, and some are more dangerous than others. Scorpions are arthropods and members of the arachnid classification, but they are not insects.

3 types of scorpions in Louisiana

1. Striped Bark Scorpion

Striped Bark Scorpion
Striped Bark Scorpion | image by k.draper via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Centruroides vittatus

This scorpion can grow up to 60 millimeters, or 2 ⅜ inches in length, including the tail. The tail is shorter in females than in males of this species.

The Striped Bark Scorpion typically ranges from yellowish to tan and features black stripes on the top of the abdomen. Some members of this species are only faintly marked and may be paler in color. The head of a scorpion is called the carapace, and you may notice a black triangular mark above the eyes of this species.

All scorpions have a pair of pedipalps, which are the second pair of appendages they possess. Some may consider these to be claws, but many arthropods have them, including spiders, horseshoe crabs, and sea spiders.

The Striped Bark Scorpion has a slender pair of pedipalps, making it easier to identify. This scorpion’s sting may hurt, turn red, and swell, but it is not lethal to humans unless an allergy is present.

2. Southern Devil Scorpion

Southern Devil Scorpion
Southern Devil Scorpion | image by Christina Butler via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Vaejovis carolinianus

Also known as the Southern Unstriped Scorpion, the Southern Devil Scorpion is a common resident in Louisiana. Typically, scorpions prefer dry, arid areas, but some species make their way to the southeastern part of the United States.

The Southern Devil Scorpion prefers a more tropical climate, which explains its presence in Louisiana’s hot and humid state. While a Southern Devil Scorpion sting isn’t dangerous, it can pack quite a punch.

Stings

Like most scorpions in the United States, the Southern Devil Scorpion’s sting is ultimately harmless to humans. The area that was stung may be red and swollen for a few days, but the victim will be just fine in the absence of an allergy.

Much like a bee sting, the area where a person is stung by this kind of scorpion can become red, painful, and swollen and stay that way for some time. Medical attention may be necessary if these side effects don’t go away within a reasonable amount of time.

Habitat

Like most scorpions, the Souther Devil Scorpion is nocturnal, choosing to be more active and hunt for food at night. Because of this, it is always a good idea to shake out your covers and sleeping bags when camping and to check your shoes in the morning.

While these little guys can be found in camping equipment, they are more commonly found under piles of leaves, stones, and wood. They may wander into people’s homes if necessary, but that is not their natural habitat.

Food

When hunting, the Southern Devil Scorpion seeks out spiders and other insects. They utilize the stinger on the end of their tails to incapacitate their prey with venom. The stinger also helps to hold the insect in place while it dies. This scorpion uses its pincers to grab and pull apart its victims.

Mating

Dancing is a normal part of the courting process between male and female Southern Devil Scorpions. When ready to mate, the males and females clasp their claws together and do a special dance to create offspring. The males can also use these claws to defend themselves and fight over territory with other males.

A few months after mating, the female can give birth to up to 80 offspring. Scorpions deliver live babies, and the babies ride on their mother’s backs until they are ready to live on their own.

3. Pseudoscorpion

Pseudoscorpion found in a cellar
Pseudoscorpion found in a cellar | image by Andy Murray via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Pseudoscorpionida

This sneaky creature isn’t actually a scorpion, but they are arachnids. Arachnids are closely related to scorpions, ticks, and spiders. T

hey are commonly confused with scorpions because of their elongated pincers and eight legs. They are missing the tell-tale tail with a stinger, but at first glance, they are easily mistaken for a scorpion.

If this species didn’t have pincers, they would look more like a tick, another close relative of the scorpion. The Pseudoscorpion is so named because it looks like a scorpion from the front. Not only does it have pincers, but it has the flattened, elongated body that scorpions tend to have.

The pseudoscorpion is reddish-brown and can grow up to ⅜ of an inch when the pincers are fully extended. This species prefers to live around cracks and other tight spaces and in places like underneath leaves, tree bark, and other animals’ nests.

Pseudoscorpions feed on small insects like barklice, ants, mites, and other tiny creatures. While they do administer venom to their prey, pseudoscorpions are not dangerous to humans. In fact, this species cannot bite or sting humans at all. They may look scary, but they are completely harmless.

Conclusion

Luckily, there are no truly dangerous scorpions in the state of Louisiana. Their sting may be painful, but there are no deaths directly associated with the stings of any species of scorpion in the area. Since there are only two true scorpions in the state, this creature is usually easy to avoid.

The pseudoscorpion looks much like a scorpion but is a close relative. It lacks the tail and stinger, so it cannot inflict damage on humans.

The two true scorpions may look a little creepy, but they are mostly harmless to humans. Just check your shoes and sleeping bags with vacationing outdoors, and you should be fine.