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Southern Devil Scorpion (Vaejovis carolinianus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Southern Devil Scorpion

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Not all scorpions are desert creatures and some, like the Southern Devil, prefer and thrive in a more tropical climate.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Southern Devil Scorpion is one of the few native scorpions found on the southeastern part of the U.S. Most people associate scorpions with arid, desert climates, but this species has long been a resident in the more humid South. Unlike their Middle Eastern cousins, the poison of most North American scorpions is not lethal though a few people may find themselves allergic, which can be medically serious. Despite their lack of deadly poison, their sting is certainly not painless. The area of a scorpion sting usually becomes swollen and red, remaining painful and tender for some time. Medical attention may be necessary if symptoms persist or become worse.

Despite their reputation, most scorpions do not set out to attack people. They are nocturnal and are more active at night, wandering around for prey. Because of this, many human campers shake out their sleeping bags before bed as well as their shoes before putting them on the next morning to avoid accidental close contact. During the day, scorpions rest underground. They can be found in leaf piles, and under wood stacks and stones. They may venture into homes and are commonly found in cellars or crawlspaces.

The natural prey of the Southern Devil Scorpion consists of spiders and other large insects. The stinger on the tip of the abdomen, or tail, is used to inject the poison and kill its victim. It may also aid in pinning the victim down until it dies. The pincers of the scorpion are used to grab and pull prey apart. Males use these two weapons against other intruding male scorpions.

During mating, the male and female clasp each other's claws and dance. Females can give birth to 25 - 80 offspring, one at a time, a few months after mating. Lighter colored immature scorpions are vulnerable and reside on their mother's back for about 4 weeks until they reach their molting stage. They then shed their exoskeleton for a larger, more durable one and leave their mother after the process is complete.©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: Vaejovidae
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          Genus: Vaejovis
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            Species: carolinianus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Vaejovis carolinianus
Other Name(s): Southern Unstriped Scorpion
Category: Scorpion
Size (Adult; Length): 40mm to 80mm (1.57" to 3.14")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: stinger; pinchers; pincers; claw; stinging

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 40mm (1.6in) and 80mm (3.1in)
Lo: 40mm
Md: 60mm
Hi: 80mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Southern Devil 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 Southern Devil Scorpion. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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