Subject: Scorpion in northern New Mexico
Location: Abiquiu, Rio Arriba County, NM
July 6, 2017 11:49 pm
After a lifetime of never once seeing a scorpion in the wild, I found this one while hiking tonight in Abiquiu, NM, approx. 6,400ft elevation. This one was out in the open running along on a dirt road, and I saw it by the shadow my flashlight was casting underneath. Perhaps an inch and a half long. This specimen seemed more skittish than aggressive, but I tried not to get too close. It held still long enough for a few long exposures illuminated by my flashlight.
I can’t seem to find much information on scorpions in NM. Most sources only seem to mention the highly venomous Arizona Bark scorpion, but I don’t think this one fits that description.
This looks to us like an Eastern Sand Scorpion, Paruroctonus utahensis, which is pictured on BugGuide and BugGuide data does list sightings in New Mexico. There are other possibilities from the same genus. Of the genus, BugGuide notes: “Sand-dwelling species are distinguished by a row of setae (hairs) on the tarsal segments of the legs. This row of setae is called a bristlecomb and is in most species. Otherwise, they have large, robust pedipalp chelae (hands), and usually a slender metasoma (tail). An important character on the metasoma is the dorsal carinae (ridges) do not terminate with an enlarged granule or spine (seen in Vaejovis and other vaejovid genera except the punctipalpi group of the genus Vaejovis). The median eyes are typically large.”