Superstitionia donensis

Stahnke, 1940

Today's subject is Superstitionia donensis Stahnke, 1940. The generic name, Superstitionia, is a reference to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. The specific name, donensis, is also a place name. According to Kari McWest, long-time associate of H. L. Stahnke, "donensis " refers to Don's Camp, a small canyon entrance in the southern plains of the Superstition Mountains. It was a meeting location for the Don's Society of Phoenix.

Superstitionia donensis
Vital Stats:
  • [not available]

This scorpion is in the family Superstitionidae. This is a most unusual group of scorpions because all members except S. donensis are specifically adapted for living in caves. Don't forget to check out the higher resolution JPEG for Superstitionia donensis.

Original Description:

Stahnke, H.L. 1940. The scorpions of Arizona. Iowa State College Journal of Science, 15:101-103.


Superstitionia donensis is found in western New Mexico, Arizona, extreme southern Nevada, and southern California in the United States. It is also found in Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora in Mexico. Next to nothing is known of the habits of this tiny scorpion (adult size is about 25 mm). I have found it under stones on rocky hillsides in sandy soil. Like all scorpions, this species is venomous, but not of any danger to humans.

Fun Facts

Superstitionia donensis is not commonly encountered, but can be locally abundant at certain times where it does occur. This species is relatively primitive in its morphology, possessing characteristics that are basic to all vaejovoid scorpions. As stated above, this species appears to be primitive even among the superstitionids. Other species in this family lack median and/or lateral eyes, and lack pigmentation in the integument (these are cave adaptations). Another indication of the great age of this family is its disjunct distribution world-wide. Troglotayosicus is known from a single specimen from a cave in Colombia, South America; Belisarius is known from caves in the East Pyrennes of France and Spain; and Alacran, Typhlochactas, and Sotanochactas are known from caves and mountain leaf litter (some Typhlochactas) in Mexico.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent the views of the Department of the Army or the Smithsonian Institution... or anybody else for that matter. – Dr. Scott A. Stockwell

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