Centruroides vittatus
(Say, 1821)


Common names:
This scorpion is known as the Striped Bark Scorpion. The species name means "striped".

North America (Mexico, USA (Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)). This is the most common scorpion in the USA.

In natural habitats, this species is found in areas with a lot of cracks and crevices (rocky areas, forests and quite often in human buildings), where it will hide. This is a higly adaptive species, which tolerates different climatic conditions. C. vittatus is an active forager that does not burrow. It is distinctly associated with dead vegetation, fallen logs and human dwellings. It is common for this species to climb trees and walls, and many times it has been found in the attics of homes. During periods of hot weather, scorpions may move into living areas to escape the high temperatures in attics. This species has a high density in some areas. C. vittatus has to endure low tempertaures in some areas. A study has shown that it survives sub-zero temperatures by tolerating limited freezing of body tissue.

This scorpion can inflict very a painful sting, but it is not considered as potent as some of its relatives. It probably has a minor medical significance for healthy humans.

Selected literature:
Brown, C. A. and Formanowicz, D. R. Jr. (1995) Variation in reproductive investment among and within populations of the scorpion Centruroides vittatus. Oecologia, vol.103(2), p. 140-147.
Shelley, R. M. & W. D. Sissom (1995). Distributions of the scorpions Centruroides vittatus (Say) and Centruroides hentzi (Banks) in the United States and Mexico (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Journal of Arachnology, vol. 23, pp.100-110.
Sissom, W. D. and R. M. Shelley (1995). Report on a rare developmental anomaly in the scorpion, Centruroides vittatus (Buthidae). J. Arachnol., vol. 23, pp. 199-201
Shelley, R.M. 1994. Introductions of the scorpions Centruroides vittatus (Say) and C. hentzi (Banks) into North Carolina, with records of the indigenous scorpion, Vaejovis carolinianus (Beauvois) (Scorpionida: Buthidae, Vaejovidae). Brimleyana vol. 21, pp. 45-55.
Formanowicz, D. R., Jr., & Shaffer, L. R. (1993). Reproductive investment in the scorpion Centruroides vittatus. Oecologia, vol. 94, pp. 368-372.
Whitemore, D. H. et al. (1985a). Scorpion Cold Hardiness. Physiological Zoology, vol. 58. pp. 526-537.
Whitemore, D. H. et al. (1985b). Freeze tolerance of the scorpion Centruroides vittatus. Cryo-Letters, vol. 6(6). pp. 402-405.

On the Internet:
Scott Stockwell on Centruroides vittatus (with picture of different color forms).
The Striped Scorpion by Michele Schlesinger
Tennessee Scorpion Information
Jason Schaefer on Centruroides vittatus.
A few pictures on the Internet.

This species are known to have several color variations. The most common color variant of this species has the characteristic dark interocular triangle with posterior "shapes" on the carapace (Other Centruriodes from Mexico have stripes on the carapace, no triangle or "Shapes") and a pair of dark, longitudinal stripes on the mesosoma (see the photos above). The body color is usually yellowish brown. See Scott Stockwells web page for more information about the other color forms. Males have a longer cauda than females, and the shape of the telson differ between the sexes. A distinct, yet small subaculear tubercle is found on the telson. This species can reach up to 7 cm in lenght.

This species is found in some pet collections, both in US and Europe, and are known be be easy to keep in captivity. Captive breeding have been reported.

Littersize for this species is reported to be 13-47 (average 31).

No current reserach on the species is known.

Centruroides vittatus photos (left: male, right: female) by Jan Ove Rein (C)
Part of the information in this file was supplied by Kari McWest.


Jan Ove Rein (C) 2024