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by Valerie

October, 2008

Striped Bark Scorpion

striped bark scorpion

Our featured creature this month is the striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus). It is one of only two scorpion species found here in Austin, and the only one to be found statewide in Texas. Since our other species is solid dark reddish brown, it is very easy to tell the two apart, as this one always has two stripes down its back, even when very small.

Scorpions are predators that hunt at night. They hide during the day, usually under rocks or logs. This species, though, is known for entering homes and also being able to climb very well. It is frequently found in attics or on ceilings. The sting from the Striped Bark Scorpion is about as strong as a wasp, however reactions depend on the size of the animal and the sensitivity of the person stung.

The mating ritual of scorpions is quite elaborate, due to their biology. The male and female clasp pincers and appear to "dance." This always takes place on a hard, flat surface. What is really happening is that the male is leading the female over a packet of sperm that he has deposited and she must pick up using special appendages on her underside. Once she has grasped the sperm, she has no more use for the male and will violently pull loose and repel him.

Scorpions do not lay eggs, but give birth to fully developed young. Before the first molt, the babies ride about on the mother's back.

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