Florida’s Largest Scorpion
Florida has a wide range of wildlife, ranging from creatures big and small. Many of our animals are beautiful, from the majestic dolphin to our local flamingoes… And some are downright creepy. Not many people can deny being a little freaked out by scorpions. Scorpions are intimidating hunters. They sport eight legs, meaty claws, and the signature stinger on the back. The stinger delivers deadly venom to foes and prey alike… And is the source of many peoples’ fear of the arachnids. Of all of our scorpions, one gets more attention than others. This is due to the tall tales surrounding it and the fact that it can grow up to four inches long!
The Florida Bark Scorpion
Centruroides gracilis is a scorpion in the Buthidae family. This family includes all of the bark scorpions. Though it’s called the Florida bark scorpion, it actually has many common names. For example, it is called the brown bark scorpion, slender brown scorpion, and other names. This is because it isn’t actually native to Florida! The species is native to Mexico and Central America but has been introduced to other countries and even Africa.
Life Cycle of the Florida Bark Scorpion
Florida bark scorpions start their life as a live birth, not an egg. The mother scorpion gives birth to a litter of around 30 young, though as many as 90 have been documented. When they are born, they instinctively climb onto the female’s back to be carried. They have a soft shell at this point and would die without her protection.
Once they molt and grow a hard shell, they climb off to explore independently. Florida bark scorpions reach maturity within a year and typically live for just under three years.. Though some females have been seen living for over three years. They can live longer in captivity if the conditions are ideal.
When Florida bark scorpions are in their reproductive cycle, the male instigates interactions. The male finds an appropriate female and lays out pheromones around the female. He also thumps his body against the ground, vibrating in specific ways. When the female is receptive, he grabs her pincers in his and leads her away to fertilize. Males leave quickly after, as sexual cannibalism is a rare event that could happen.
Where Do Florida Bark Scorpions Live?
The slender brown scorpion is nocturnal, and it is typically found under things. Overturned boats, scrap wood planks, metal junk… But primarily, they live under wood, hence the name bark scorpion. However, if they have a chance to, they will occupy homes. The interior of house walls offers them a wide selection of prey, especially in abandoned homes or homes with insect infestations.
Are Florida Bark Scorpions Dangerous?
Bark scorpions, nationwide, are some of the most dangerous scorpions. However, this species is not as venomous as other members of the Centruroides genus. Instead, it has a neuro- and cardiotoxic venom. This can lead to heart arrhythmia, hyper- or hypotension, tachycardia, and pulmonary edema, among other conditions. In addition, it could potentially cause vomiting, shock, coma, or even death in rare cases.
Deaths are extremely rare in people six years old or older. Many scorpion stings can be treated with home care, but bark scorpion stings should be monitored closely. Do not massage or clean the sting site. Instead, seek emergency care for trouble with breathing or heart rate not related to panic.
Whether these ancient creatures are deadly or not, you don’t need them around. But, if you have a scorpion problem, give us a call. Check out our website to learn about all the pests we get rid of.