How to identify Hadrurus spp.

Hadrurus spadix & Hadrurus arizonensis

The difference between Hadrurus spadix and Hadrurus arizonensis is something which comes up in the hobby on a regular basis and I wanted to address the issue straight away. First and foremost, the two species require identical care so identification is simple for your own benefit – you don’t really need to identify which specific scorpion you have if you don’t wish to. Both are routinely sold as desert hairy scorpions, and are very regularly misidentified in pet shops (pet shops tend to know little about scorpions in general – however this isn’t always the case of course). I would at this point say you should take with a slight pinch of salt when your local pet shop tells you it is one species or the other; you are probably just as well purchasing it as a desert hairy scorpion and then taking a moment or two to identify it yourself.

The way to differentiate between spadix and arizonensis is to look at their mesosoma (think of it as their back) – they will have black colouration adorning it. In Hadrurus spadix the mesosoma will be solidly black – up to the eyes at the front on the cephalothorax (head) of the scorpion. See the image below of a typical Hadrurus spadix:

Hadrurus spadix

Hadrurus spadix by Furryscaly

Notice the black colouration is fairly complete and solid – pay particular attention to the prosoma (head) where the eyes on the scorpion are, notice it is completely black. This is important.


Now we contrast by looking at a typical Hadrurus arizonensis specimen, once again we are looking at the mesosoma (body). They display black colouration in the same fashion to their Hadrus spadix friends, however pay particular attention to the cephalothorax (head) again:

Hadrurus arizonensis

Hadrurus arizonensis by lilspikey

Notice how the colouration is different this time. The black colouration isn’t quite as solid as on the spadix. The colouration tends to fade out a little towards the edges of the mesosoma. The most important factor however, and the key identifying feature, is how the black colouration diminishes towards the front of the cephalothorax on the scorpion. Notice now the area around the eyes of the scorpion is yellow rather than solid black as seen in Hadrurus spadix.

There you go, it is as simple as that. You can now differentiate between the two species of scorpions which are commonly sold as desert hairy scorpions, Arizona desert scorpions, or a multitude of other common names (oh how I wish the hobby would just move toward scientific nomenclature, it would make things so much simpler).

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