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California Swollen Stinger Scorpion (Anuroctonus pococki)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion

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Image Credit: Jim H. taken near Los Angeles, CA
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Image Credit: Jim H. taken near Los Angeles, CA
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Spying the small bulge just before the stinger of the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion is not worth the risk of close proximity.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Dark, brown coloring make it harder to see the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion at night. It also helps hide it during the less active daytime. Huge, brown pedipalps look more like mighty claws with dark brown or black tips. Tiny dark bumps run along the squared ridges on them. These mighty 'arms' hold down insect prey, allowing the scorpion to begin eating it with strong jaw-like chelae. Oftentimes, the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion stings it by curling its long tail forward, thrusting the stinger into the insect. A venom gland injects a paralytic substance that subdues the prey, allowing the scorpion to eat without a struggle.

The dark brown body may be wide or slender, with females appearing a bit larger than males. The legs, tail, and 'arms' are a medium brown. In the center of the plate-like carapace (head region), sit a pair of eyes. More eyes are on the sides of the 'face'. The large, round, last tail segment is a shade paler than the rest of the tail and has a small swollen bulge just before the stinger. A sting from this scorpion is indeed painful, causing swelling and redness for a day or so, but it is not a deadly species.

Maintaining tight seals on doors and windows can help keep the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion from wandering indoors. Removing wood piles, debris, or other areas that could hide them is also good practice.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect stinger icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Scorpiones
        Family: Iuridae
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          Genus: Anuroctonus
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            Species: pococki

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Anuroctonus pococki
Category: Scorpion
Size (Adult; Length): 50mm to 78mm (1.96" to 3.07")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: tan, brown, black
Descriptors: large pedipalps, swollen, pincers, stinger, tail, painful

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 50mm (2.0in) and 78mm (3.1in)
Lo: 50mm
Md: 64mm
Hi: 78mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the California Swollen Stinger Scorpion. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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