Identify It > Spiders Section > Yellow-tailed Scorpions >
Scientific name: Euscorpius flavicaudis
Size: Up to 45mm long
Distribution: Isolated populations in Kent and Hampshire, close to dockyards. One sighting in Plymouth.
Months seen: All year round
Life Span: Up to 2 years
Habitat: Cracks in old walls
Food: Small insects, spiders, woodlice and other scorpions
Special features: Yellow-tailed Scorpions, or European Scorpions, have a black body and tail, with tan coloured legs and a tan coloured stinging organ (hence the name).
They are mostly nocturnal, and unlike other scorpions they rarely use their stinging organ. Yellow-tailed Scorpions catch and dispatch their prey with their claws.
These tiny scorpions arrived in the UK by boat, from the Mediterranean, around two hundred years ago. Despite having eight legs they don't move about much, but tend to sit and wait for prey to come within grabbing distance.
It's unlikely that Yellow-tailed Scorpions have spread to other parts of the UK because our wet climate is not suitable for them.
Like other species of scorpions, European scorpions glow bright blue-green under UV light. The purpose of this is uncertain, but it's possible that the low level reflected light from their bodies attracts their prey towards them.
The Yellow-tailed Scorpion sting is not particularly dangerous to most people, but it's best to avoid handling them in case you have an allergic reaction to the venom.