Striped bark scorpion

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Striped bark scorpion
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Subphylum:Chelicerata
Class:Arachnida
Order:Scorpiones
Family:Buthidae
Genus:Centruroides
Species:C. vittatus
Binomial name
Centruroides vittatus
(Say, 1863)
 
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Striped bark scorpion
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Subphylum:Chelicerata
Class:Arachnida
Order:Scorpiones
Family:Buthidae
Genus:Centruroides
Species:C. vittatus
Binomial name
Centruroides vittatus
(Say, 1863)

The striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus) is an extremely common scorpion found throughout the midsection of the United States and northern Mexico. It is perhaps the most frequently encountered scorpion in the U.S.

Appearance[edit]

A striped scorpion hiding among rocks at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

A medium-sized scorpion that is rarely longer than 70 mm (up to around 2 3/4 inches), C. vittatus is a uniform pale-yellow scorpion that can be identified by two dark, longitudinal stripes on its carapace, with a dark triangular above the ocular tubercle. There are minor variations on this theme, however; specimens that are lighter-colored and lack the characteristic stripes have been described as separate species in the past. Their color suits their environment well, providing them with a natural camouflage from predators as well as prey. Males have a pectinal tooth count of 21-30, while females count 20-27.[1]

Distribution and Habitat[edit]

The natural geographic distribution of C. vittatus is formed by several adjoining South-Central US states and northern Mexico. Beginning in the northern Mexico Border States, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Taumalipas, C. vittatus’ range extends upward longitudinally through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, to reach as far north as Thayer Co., Nebraska. The area also extends laterally from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Rio Grande in New Mexico and Southern Colorado to the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers in Missouri and Louisiana. In all, the range includes the following: Arkansas (Benton County, Boone County, Cleburne County, Crawford County, Faulkner County, Franklin County, Garland County, Izard County, Logan County, Marion County, Nevada County, Newton County, Perry County, Pike County, Polk County, Pulaski County, Scott County, Sharp County, Washington County), Colorado (Baca County, Fremont County, Las Animas County, Otero County, Prowers County, Pueblo County), Illinois (Monroe County, Randolph County), Kansas (Alien County, Butler County, Chase County, Chautauqua County, Cherokee County, Clark County, Cowley County, Douglas County, Elk County, Lyon County, Osage County, Reno County, Riley County, Trego County, Wabaunsee County, Wilson County, Woodson County, Wyandotte County), Louisiana (Alien Parish, Beauregard Parish, Caddo Parish, Caldwell Parish, Claiborne Parish, Evangeline Parish, Grant Parish, Jackson Parish, Lincoln Parish, Rapides Parish, Sabine Parish, Vernon Parish), Missouri (Barry County, Benton County, Carter County, Christian County, Cole County, Hickory County, Holt County, Howell County, Iron County, Jackson County, Jasper County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Miller County, Moniteau County, Oregon County, Phelps County, St. Clair County, St. Genevieve County, St. Louis County, Stone County, Taney County, Washington County), Nebraska (Thayer County), New Mexico (Chaves County, DeBaca County, Dona Ana County, Eddy County, Guadalupe County, Lincoln County, Otero County, Quay County, San Miguel County, Socorro County), Oklahoma (Alfalfa County, Beckham County, Blaine County, Carter County, Cherokee County, Cimarron County, Cleveland County, Comanche County, Craig County, Dewey County,Ellis County, Garfield County, Greer County, Harper County, Haskell County, Hughes County, Kay County, Latimer County, LeFlore County, McClain County, Marshall County, Murray County, Muskogee County, Osage County, Pawnee County, Payne County, Pottawatomie County, Roger Mills County, Seminole County, Sequoyah County, Stephens County, Till-man County, Tulsa County, Woodward County), Texas (Anderson County, Andrews County, Angelina County, Archer County, Atascosa County, Bandera County, Bastrop County, Baylor County, Bexar County, Blanco County, Brazoria County, Brazos County, Brewster County, Briscoe County, Brown County, Burnet County, Calhoun County, Cameron County, Camp County, Cherokee County, Clay County, Coke County, Comal County, Coryell County, Crockett County, Crosby County, Culberson County, Dallas County, DeWitt County, Ector County, Edwards County, El Paso County, Erath County, Fisher County, Foard County, Garza County, Gillespie County, Gonzales County, Gray County, Grayson County, Hall County, Harris County, Harrison County, Hays County, Hidalgo County, Houston County, Hudspeth County, Hutchinson County, Jeff Davis County, Johnson County, Jones County, Kaufman County, Kendall County, Kent County, Kerr County, Kimble County, King County, Kinney County, Knox County, Lamar County, Lampasas County, Leon County, Liberty County, Llano County, Live Oak County, LaSalle County, Lubbock County, Madison County, Mason County, Matagorda County, Maverick County, McLennon County, , McMullen County, Medina County, Menard County, Milam County, Mitchell County, Montague County, Moore County, Motley County, Navarro County, Newton County, Nolan County, Nueces County, Oldham County, Palo Pinto County, Parker County, Pecos County, Polk County, Potter County, Presidio County, Randall County, Real County, Reeves County, Refugio County, Robertson County, Runnels County, Rusk County, San Augustine County, San Patricio County, San Saba County, Schleicher County, Smith County, Starr County, Sterling County, Sutton County, Tarrant County, Taylor County, Terrell County, Tom Green County, Travis County, Upton County, Uvalde County, Val Verde County, Victoria County, Walker County, Ward County, Webb County, Wichita County, Wilbarger County, Williamson County, Wise County, Winkler County, Zapata County, and Zavala County).[2]

Reports have also found C. vittatus in locations inconsistent with the natural geographic distribution aforementioned. Populations seem to be found only in particular cities outside its natural distribution, so it is thought likely that human activity has introduced C. vittatus to these areas. They include locations east of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in Illinois (Cook and McHenry Counties), Iowa (County unknown, Missouri Valley), Kentucky (Marshall and Calloway Counties), Louisiana (East Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans Parish), Mississippi (Lamar, Pike and Rankin Counties), Missouri (Clark County), North Carolina (Dare, Nash, and Wake Counties), and Tennessee (Rutherford and Shelby Counties). Additional sightings have occurred in Arizona (Maricopa County), California (Contra Costa County), and Colorado (Boulder County).[3]

A wide geographic distribution allows C. vittatus to occupy desert, deciduous and coniferous forest, and temperate grassland [biomes], where they can be found in crevices under rock and surface debris, vegetation, old rural structures like sheds and barns, and houses during the day. At night, this species emerges from its daytime home and can be found on the open ground or in vegetation like microphyllous desertic brushwood or other classification.[4]

Behavior[edit]

While the genus Centruroides implies this species is a semi-arboreal one,[5] it spends a substantial amount of time on the ground and can be found in under rock and surface debris, within vegetation, and in weathered rural structures like old sheds and barns during the day.[6] The terrestrial preferences of this species carry into the night hours, when the scorpion will emerge from its temporal shelter at or after sunset to search forage for potential prey. Juveniles, however, spend a substantial amount of time in vegetation likely to avoid predation to which they are more vulnerable. C. vittatus has a very dynamic diet which includes insects, smaller arachnids and juveniles of the same species. It is preyed on by birds, reptiles, some mammals and larger arachnids.

Unlike most species of scorpion, C. vittatus is social, presenting it with more opportunities to mate and compete for mates.[7] Consequently, the process of reproduction is one that is both intricate and extensive.[8] Males begin by engaging behavior to establish dominance to mate. They engage in a showdown that highlights tail-waving and shifting until one male backs down. Once one male has established it is the one to mate, male engages the female in the first “step” of courtship called the “promenade a deax” (PAD). During this step, the smaller male maneuvers the female to a spot where he can deposit spermatophore, a small capsule containing the male’s sperm, for reception. This step will determine whether the female will assume the male’s spermatophore, as the male must hold the female long enough to coax her over the spermatophore. Larger males tend to have more success at maneuvering the female than smaller ones. If the male has successfully maneuvered, the male and female will move onto join together and rub chelicera in the “kiss” stage where the female will uptake the spermatophore. The female will then allow approximately eight months for gestation whereupon she will have live offspring which will spend the time for at least one molt on the protection of her back.[9]

Human significance[edit]

Thousands of people are stung each year by Centruroides vittatus while barefoot or accidentally making contact with the scorpion in houses and other man-made structures. While a sting from C. vittatus is very rarely deadly, it is painful and causes localized swelling.[10] Neurotoxins in the venom can also cause paresthesia and muscle spasms, while more severe cases have resulted in a more intense hypersensitive reaction characterized by symptoms like angioedema, abdominal cramping, chest tightness, flushing, impending doom, lightheadedness, a large localized reaction, nausea and vomiting, syncope, shortness of breath, urticarial, wheezing and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. Several studies have revealed that C. vittatus venom is composed of multiple proteins which serve as allergens to the human body. SDS-PAGE and IgE Immunoblots reveal that nine of these proteins elicit an IgE mediated immune response, which is known to be consistent with a hypersensitive reaction. In addition, Api-Zym and Radial Diffusion Assays show that C. vittatus venom contains the enzymes alkaline phosphatase, esterase, esterase lipase, acid phosphatase and phospholipase A.[11]

On 30 June 2011, a man on an Alaska Airlines flight was reportedly stung by a striped bark scorpion. The flight had originated from Austin, Texas, which is where authorities believe the scorpion originated. The man reportedly did not experience any serious medical conditions.[12]

While a Centruroides vittatus sting is not typically deadly, and signs like swelling can be treated using an ice pack, several other species from the genus Centruroides can have a deadly sting and medical attention should be sought immediately.[13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shelley, R. M., and Sissom, W. D. (1995). Distributions of the scorpions Centruroides vittatus (Say) and Centruroides hentzi (Banks) in the United States and Mexico (Scorpiones, Buthidae). J. Arachnol. 23: 100–110.
  2. ^ Shelley, R. M., and Sissom, W. D. (1995). Distributions of the scorpions Centruroides vittatus (Say) and Centruroides hentzi (Banks) in the United States and Mexico (Scorpiones, Buthidae). J. Arachnol. 23: 100–110.
  3. ^ Shelley, R. M., and Sissom, W. D. (1995). Distributions of the scorpions Centruroides vittatus (Say) and Centruroides hentzi (Banks) in the United States and Mexico (Scorpiones, Buthidae). J. Arachnol. 23: 100–110.
  4. ^ C. Brown and D. O'Connell. 2000. Plant Climbing Behavior in the Scorpion Centruroides vittatus. The American Midland Naturalist., 144. 406-418.
  5. ^ C. Brown and D. O'Connell. 2000. Plant Climbing Behavior in the Scorpion Centruroides vittatus. The American Midland Naturalist., 144. 406-418.
  6. ^ C. Brown and D. O'Connell. 2000. Plant Climbing Behavior in the Scorpion Centruroides vittatus. The American Midland Naturalist., 144. 406-418.
  7. ^ C. Nobile and P. Johns. 2005. Prelude to a Kiss: Evidence for Mate Discrimination in the Striped Bark Scorpion, Centruroides vittatus. Journal of Insect Behavior., 18. 405-413.
  8. ^ C. Nobile and P. Johns. 2005. Prelude to a Kiss: Evidence for Mate Discrimination in the Striped Bark Scorpion, Centruroides vittatus. Journal of Insect Behavior., 18. 405-413.
  9. ^ Benton, T. G. (1991). The life history of Euscorpius flavicaudis (Scorpiones, Chactidae). J. Arachnol. 19: 105–110.
  10. ^ J. Demain and D. Goetz. 1995. Immediate, late, and delayed skin test responses to Centruroides vittatus scorpion venom. 95. 135-137.
  11. ^ D. More et al. 2004. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 93. 493-498
  12. ^ "Ore. man stung by scorpion on commercial flight." Yahoo! News. 30 June 2011.[1]
  13. ^ E. Perez. 2013. MedlinePlus: Scorpions. Availiable at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002850.htm. Accessed November 4, 2013.
  14. ^ Steen CJ, Schwartz RA. 2008. Arthropod bites and stings. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 7. 210.

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