Interesting Facts About the Bark Scorpion

Tarantulas, owls and lizards feed upon bark scorpions.
Tarantulas, owls and lizards feed upon bark scorpions. (Image: Images)

The bark scorpion, found in the southeast parts of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, come from the arachnida class of insects, like spiders and mites. They typically live in crevices, under rocks, inside tree bark and under logs. The have segmented bodies, ending in venomous-filled tail stingers, which they use for defense. The makeup and habits of the bark scorpion contain some interesting facts.

Body Description

The adult bark scorpions attain a body length of 2 to 2 3/4 inches, including the tail. The subadults can measure an inch or less. They have eight legs -- four pairs. The body has a tan or straw-colored hue. They have eight eyes, but have trouble perceiving objects clearly, making them attune to only light and dark shades. They have two front grasping pinchers, covered with sensitive hair, and they use the pinchers to grasp prey and fight. The segmented body has two regions, a cephalothorax (chest) and abdomen.

Life Span

Bark scorpions attain adulthood in five years and can live up to nine years. The bark scorpion must sometimes molt (shed) its hard exoskeleton. It must flip on its back and crack its shell open, to slip out of the old shell. It puffs up to harden the new carapace, which leaves it weak and vulnerable to attack.


Bark scorpions use all eight legs to move, backward, forward or sideways. They hold their hair-sensitive pinchers out in front of them when they walk. The tail can assume several positions as the bark scorpion moves -- straight out, looped over their back or curled to the side. They can climb up just about any object that has a porous or rough surface, with the exception of glass.


Bark scorpions, being opportunity feeders, subsist on tiny spiders, centipedes and sometimes smaller scorpions. They use their front pinchers to rip prey apart into manageable pieces. They sting larger prey insects by whipping their tail overhead and striking the insect. Their venom contains a neurotoxin that disrupts the central nervous system of the prey insect. After holding the prey insect with its pinchers, it emits digestive juices to breakdown the tissue. It feeds through its mouth by chewing and sucking the liquid tissue structure into its pharynx.

Mating and Reproduction

The male and female bark scorpions clasp pinchers and dance around in circles, sometimes for several hours. The male then deposits sperm on the ground, then guides the female over it. She draws up the sperm into a sexual opening, underneath her abdomen. The female develops around 30 eggs inside her body for several months, until the offspring break loose from her birth cavity and climb upon her back. The fully developed baby scorpions ride their mother's back for seven to 21 days, until they go through their first molt. After molting, the babies drop from their mother and scatter.


Bark scorpions avoid the heat of the day by nesting in cracks and crevices that offer ample shade. They wait for night to do their hunting, using the many hairs on their legs and pinchers to detect vibrations in the air. They locate prey animals by interpreting the frequency of the vibrations. They hibernate in groups of up to 30 individuals in the winter months but remain solitary throughout the summer.

Peculiar Facts

When bark scorpions are subjected to an ultraviolet light source, they glow a fluorescent green color.

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