Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Northwest Forest Scorpion, UROCTONUS MORDAX

from the May 24, 2009 Newsletter, issued from the Siskiyou Mountains west of Grants Pass, Oregon:

The other day Anita was checking on the pipes bringing water down from the spring when she noticed a little scorpion atop a pipe joint's cover-box. It was a cold morning and the scorpion was very slow to move so it was short work for Anita to pick it up in a napkin and bring it to my door. That's  the resulting photo above.

This is a Northwest Forest Scorpion, UROCTONUS MORDAX. At about 1.5 inches long, websites describe it as a medium-size, communal, rather shy and slow-to-act scorpion, preferring to play dead or hide rather than sting, though it'll readily sting prey too big to subdue simply by biting. The species is distributed in moist, heavily forested areas west of the Cascade Mountains from northern California into Washington state.

I'm accustomed to seeing scorpions in hotter, drier areas than here so I was a little surprised with Anita's find. Where else besides the Desert Southwest might scorpions be found in the US? A webpage entitled Scorpions of The USA Checklists by State supplied the answer. It turns out that, yes, scorpions are mostly found in the US's hotter, drier states (52 species and several subspecies are listed just for California) but also here in chilly Oregon and Washington States we have five species, and various species occur as far east as Virginia, though not in the north-central and northeastern states. Growing up in Kentucky I never saw one but one is even listed for there. You can check out this interesting list at http://www.angelfire.com/tx4/scorpiones/states.html.