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2 Types of Scorpions in Tennessee (ID Pictures)

Many people assume that no scorpions can survive in Tennessee, but there are actually two types of these arachnids that are able to thrive in the state. One of the scorpions is native to Tennessee, while the other was introduced by mistake and has adapted to the region. There is another interesting arachnid that calls Tennessee home, the Pseudoscorpion, which is frequently mistaken for a real scorpion.

2 Scorpions in Tennessee

Interesting Facts About Tennessee Scorpions

  • Both scorpions found in Tennessee are also native to Georgia.
  • Plain eastern stripeless scorpions are one of the few types of scorpions that thrive at high elevations.
  • Striped scorpions are one of the only scorpions that climb trees and hunt during the day.

1. Plain Eastern Stripeless Scorpion

Southern devil scorpion
Southern Devil Scorpion | image by Christina Butler via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

One of the scorpions native to Tennessee is the plain eastern stripeless scorpion. These scorpions can be seen in most regions of the state, but are more common in the Great Smoky Mountains. Unlike other scorpions that prefer dry and desert-like places, the plain eastern stripeless can thrive in the higher elevations and colder climates of The Smokies.

Scientific name

The scientific name for plain eastern stripeless scorpions is Vaejovis carolinianus. They are arachnids and not insects like many people believe they are. These scorpions are also native to Georgia, where they are called southern devil scorpions.

Appearance

Plain eastern stripeless scorpions can reach between 1.5 and 2 inches long as an adult. They have legs and pincers that are light brown, while the rest of them is a dark brown color. These are one of the smallest types of scorpions found across the southern regions of the United States.

Range

Even though the plain eastern stripeless scorpion can be found in any region of Tennessee, they are more likely to be spotted in the Smokies mountain range. These scorpions are also native to Georgia and can be found throughout the state.

They can be found in neighborhoods, woodlands, and other areas around Tennessee, and are not picky about where they set up shelter. This often ends up being someone’s basement, garage, shed, or yard.

Human Interaction

The plain eastern stripeless scorpion will do its best to hide from people when possible, but it will sting if threatened. If you come across one of these small scorpions they will most likely run and hide.

While they have some venom in their stingers for subduing prey, it is not dangerous to people. A sting from this scorpion can be painful, but the pain and swelling typically go away shortly.

However, some people can be allergic to a plain eastern stripeless sting and will need medical attention to help them recover. These stings typically happen when one of these scorpions is accidentally disturbed. They are small and like to hide in dark places, so it is easy to sneak up on a plain eastern stripeless and end up getting stung.

2. Striped Scorpion

Hentz striped scorpion
Hentz Striped Scorpion | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Striped scorpions are one of the only two scorpions known to be found in Tennessee, and they are also native to Georgia. In Georgia, these arachnids are referred to as striped bark scorpions due to their tendency to climb trees.

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While not aggressive, they are likely to sting if surprised or threatened. It is not fatal to humans but can be pretty painful. These scorpions were brought to Tennessee by accident, but now they are a common arachnid seen in the state.

Scientific name

The scientific name for these Tennessee scorpions is Centruroides vittatus. While they are commonly called striped scorpions in Tennessee, they are called striped bark scorpions in Georgia. These names come from the two stripes running along these scorpions, and their ability to climb trees in search of prey and shelter.

Appearance

As adults, stripe scorpions will reach an average of one inch long. Their bodies are long and slender, with pale legs and a dark abdomen, and they can be easily recognized by two long black stripes running down their sides. The tip of their stinger is also black, with what resembles a tooth at the end. This tooth is called a tubercle.

Range

Striped scorpions can be found throughout the entire state of Tennessee, but are more commonly seen in southern regions. They will find shelters under rocks and in crevices and are known to group together.

This is unlike most other types of scorpions, which prefer to live solitary lives. In addition to Tennessee, these arachnids can be seen in Georgia and northern areas of Mexico.

Human Interaction

Even though striped scorpions are not deadly to people, this does not mean their stings are not painful. In addition to the pain, symptoms of being stung by one of these scorpions include sweating, swelling at the site, nausea, and vomiting.

Interesting Facts About Tennessee Scorpions

Striped bark scorpion on black background
Striped bark scorpion on black background | image by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Flickr</a
  • Both scorpions found in Tennessee are also native to Georgia.
  • Plain eastern stripeless scorpions are one of the few types of scorpions that thrive at high elevations.
  • Striped scorpions are one of the only scorpions that climb trees and hunt during the day.

‘False’ Scorpions in Tennessee

Pseudoscorpion found in a cellar
Pseudoscorpion found in a cellar | image by Andy Murray via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

False scorpions are not exactly scorpions, but they are frequently mistaken for one and are commonly found throughout the state of Tennessee. Pseudoscorpions have four legs and two large pincers, and only reach a length of 1 cm when adults.

These false scorpions are almost exactly like the real thing, with the biggest physical difference being they don’t have a stinger. Pseudoscorpions are not dangerous and are so small that many people don’t even notice when they pass one.

Interesting Facts About False Scorpions

  • False scorpions are frequently mistaken for actual scorpions.
  • They look nearly identical to scorpions, except for having a stinger.
  • The pincers of Pseudoscorpions are nearly bigger than their bodies.

Conclusion

The plain eastern stripeless scorpion is native to Tennessee, while the striped scorpion was accidentally brought into the state. The false scorpions commonly seen in the states can be mistaken for one of these scorpions, but they are so small they are hard to even notice.