Activity trends and movement distances in the Arizona bark scorpion (Scorpiones: Buthidae)

Christopher Stephen Bibbs, Sarah Elizabeth Bengston, Dawn Heather Gouge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing, is a nocturnal, cryptic, nonburrowing, mobile species that is common in urban landscapes spanning the desert southwest. Bark scorpions are often found in dense localized populations in cities, but the question of whether this is because the species is metabolically movement limited or choose to aggregate has not been addressed. Field observations lead us to believe that the scorpions move very little. Their ability to move is tested here. A circular pacing ring was constructed to observe the distance individuals could move in 2 h under both dark and light conditions. Observations under light motivate the arthropods to move, and significantly greater distances were observed in light trials, the maximum travel distance being 104.37 m, while the maximum distance in dark trials was 14.63 m. To monitor movement in the field, telemetry tags were used to mark female and male scorpions over 21 d during which relocation distances were recorded daily. Additionally, 12-h and 6-h overnight observational periods took place during which, scorpion movements were recorded hourly. Overall, it was found that scorpions moved significantly more in the pacing ring than in the field, indicating that field individuals are not moving at their maximum potential. Movement limitation does not explain their distribution pattern. In both the pacing ring and field, gender and pregnancy status had significant influence on distances moved. We conclude that C. sculpturatus is capable of much greater movement than is typically observed in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1620
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Behavior
  • Built environment
  • Centruroides
  • Movement
  • Urban habitat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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