Little Marbled Scorpion Lychas marmoreus

The Little Marbled Scorpion is a relatively small species with a total body length (including the tail) of about 30 mm. As its common name implies, it has a dark brown marbling pattern on a light brown background. This marbling occurs over the body, legs and tail. It is widespread in southern Australia, and is one of the three known species of scorpions found in the greater Melbourne region.


Little Marbled Scorpion
Photographer: Dr Ken Walker / Source: Museum Victoria

It is usually found living under stones or amongst plant litter on the ground. However it is occasionally found sheltering under bark of standing trees. Little is known about the biology of this species.

The sting of the Little Marbled Scorpion can cause inflammation and pain for several hours, and medical advice should be sought.

Further Reading

Koch, L. E. 1977. The taxonomy, geographic distribution and evolutionary radiation of Australo-Papuan scorpions. Records of the Western Australian Museum 5 (2):83-367.

Walker, K. L., Yen, A. L. and Milledge, G. A. 2003. Spiders and Scorpions commonly found in Victoria. Royal Society of Victoria: Melbourne.

Comments (46)

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melissa pizzinga 18 April, 2010 13:56
Hey - we found many of these scorpions in Raglan near Beaufort Victoria. Can you tell us what we can feed it so we can keep it in a classroom for a week please
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Discovery Centre 20 April, 2010 11:20

Hi there, Melissa. We can't advise about keeping native species in the classroom, as these species should not be removed from the wild. If you would like to keep an animal in the classroom, you will need to source it from a professional breeder. Further information is available from the Department of Sustainability and the Environment.

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josh 21 May, 2010 18:39
i found,i think? one of these little fellas on the inside of a log in a termites nest,in south east qld.is this species found this far north?if not is there any species in south east qld that look similiar,any info would be great,cheers.
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Discovery Centre 25 May, 2010 11:19

Hi Josh, the book 'Spiders and Scorpions commonly found in Victoria' published in 2003, states that the Little Marbled Scorpion is found in the ACT, NSW, southern end of the NT, SA, Victoria and the southern half of WA. I am not sure whether the species has been verified in Queensland since this book was published. The best place to try would be the Queensland Museum at this location. Queensland Museum Inquiry Service.

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Daniel Buchanan 11 February, 2014 14:52
I can confirm that the little marbled scorpion is indeed found in Queensland as i have found several just southwest of Rockhampton.
Nick 14 June, 2010 18:06
Hi Josh, yes this species is actually found in queensland ;) aswell, there is alot of different forms and colourations so it may look a bit different to the one in this picture
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hello hello 5 September, 2010 18:49
josh there is the marbled scorpion where you thought you found one
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Kathy 6 December, 2010 17:44
I have found one in the kitchen and one in the pool still alive when I got him/her out. Are they common in the warrandte area? Are they harmful to dogs & cats?
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Discovery Centre 10 December, 2010 11:41
Hi Kathy, scorpions can be common in parts of Melbourne, but as they are nocturnal, usually small and often well camouflaged tend to go unnoticed. Scorpions have no interest in pets; if the scorpions are in the house they will be looking for small invertebrates to feed on. A pet may be stung if it stood on or started patting or playing with a scorpion. We are not aware of scorpion stings posing a serious threat to the welfare of pets, although it would be painful and something that the pet would probably make sure it didn't do again.
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Hayley 21 December, 2010 18:33
Hi, just found one of these under my dogs bed in my back garden in Western Australia. I've also got a young baby, would it be harmful to my dog and baby if either had of been bitten? Sorry just read your answer above to Kathy regarding pets. I've took a close up photo of the one I found today if you are interested in seeing it to confirm if it is the little marbled scorpion.
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Discovery Centre 22 December, 2010 12:59
Hi Hayley, you are welcome to send an image to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we can attempt an identification. Sometimes you need to be able to see the underside of the scorpion so we may not be able to be definite from an image.
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Mason. 28 December, 2010 21:48
Hey out there! I found three of these little guys in sydney. they are a darker shade, though. One of these pricks stung me, and it hurt for like 2 hours. i didn't seek any medical advice or anything, 'cause it didn't swell. it only went red.
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Sean 30 December, 2010 00:44
Hi, We just came home from a 3 day holiday and found a 2cm scorpion in the bathroom. We think it is a marbled scorpion and were wondering if this is a normal area to find them and if we should look out for more? We live in Perth WA.
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Discovery Centre 31 December, 2010 12:39
Hi Sean, thanks for your question. We've checked with our Live Exhibits team who have told us that these can indeed be found in this locality. You can see a distribution map for them in the book A Guide to Keeping Australian Scorpions in Captivity by Mark Newton, which you may be able to find in your local library or order through a bookshop.
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Peter 19 January, 2011 12:31
Hi Hayley, According to Lou Koch's 1977 paper (citation below) there has only ever been one unconfirmed death (a baby girl) from Lychas marmoreus, in Pemberton in 1929. I have been stung by this species a few times and it does hurt like hell, though. If one of my kids was stung I would seek medical advice immediately (to stop the screaming if nothing else!) Ref: Koch, L.E. (1977). The taxonomy, Geographic Distribution and Evolutionary Radiation of Australo-Papuan Scorpions. Rec. West. Aust. Mus., vol. 5 (2), pp.83-367.
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Jenny 25 February, 2011 21:59
Hi there, We just found a tiny scorpion on the floor in our sitting room. We live in Castlemaine, Vic. It was only about 1cm long and did not look dark enough to be any of the other scorpions pictured. Could it be the Little Marbled Scorpion?
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Discovery Centre 1 March, 2011 16:01

Hi Jenny,

We cannot identify the scorpion without seeing it. Could you please send a photo to the Discovery Centre so we can forward it to our Scientists?

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Chris 8 March, 2011 15:26
@ Mason, yeah I found one of these little guys in my bathtub lastnight. I'm also in Sydney and it was a slightly darker shade than the images I can find on the web. Same shape and marbling pattern though and about 3cm in length. I've got a young son and a very curious dog, are these scorpions more active at certain times of the year?
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Toby Stone 14 March, 2011 21:26
One of these just stung Stormy, our kitten, started sneezing, seems ok?? help anyone? :P
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Discovery Centre 16 March, 2011 11:25

Hi Chris, yes you are right – invertebrates such as scorpions are more active wanderers during the warmer months of the year. During winter they tend to find a retreat under bark or other material, depending on the species to sit and wait for the weather to warm up again.

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Discovery Centre 16 March, 2011 16:10

Hi Toby, 

Marbled Scorpions are common, particularly in the Melbourne region. They are possibly the most urbanised type of scorpion in Australia. Family pets are the ones most commonly encountering these scorpions, and therefore are bitten reasonably regularly. The venom of this group of scorpions is fast acting and any reaction should be obvious quite quickly. I don’t know of any reports of cats or dogs showing major symptoms from a bite from this species, only short-term minor symptoms such as you outlined. If you’re at all concerned about the health of the kitten you should take it for veterinary advice, but there are no historical records to suggest there should be any other problems.

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Al 1 May, 2011 10:56
Guess they couldn't just answer M. Pizzinga's question without getting all political. It sounds to me like they are not catching them for sport but for safety reasons. I could be wrong but is there any harm in keeping one caught in the school yard and feeding it for a week before releasing it!? The scorpion gets a week off from having to hunt and the children learn. How hard is it to tell her that they will eat any kind of insect you can buy at the local pet shop? Jeesh!
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abi 7 June, 2011 08:28
I got bitten twice on the foot last monday by what looked to be this scorpion. I still have inflamation and my foot is still really hot in the area of the bite and it is just over a week later. I live in queensland and have been to the doctor but they didn't know much about it. Is there anything more that i can do :( It is extremely painful to walk on.
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saeyle 18 August, 2011 03:00
I capture this one in my home hobart.TAS. my wife string by something one week ago, we tried to find what but we coundn't. however yesterday we found this so we really woory about this.
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Larry 20 April, 2013 10:21
If you are in Tasmania then chances are you did not see one of these. In Tasmania the only scorpion that is commonly found is the Forrest scorpion, Cercophonius squama. No other scorpions are considered to live in Tasmania (but there may be a few that get off boats that have arrived from the mainland).
stever 17 October, 2011 14:01
I live in south west W.A. on a rural property where many interesting creatures can be found, especially in spring.I found this site when looking to identify the small scorpion which found it's way into my bed (and trousers)and stung me 3 times on the leg. I wouldn't say the bites were very painfull at all; less than a bee sting for example, with small raised welts which dissappeared after about an hour. I captured the little fella and in the morning it appeared to be dead. I wondered if it was playing doggo, and sure enough when released outside it was off like a shot.I missed my chance to get a photo though.
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tristan 30 October, 2011 23:50
Just found a marble scorpion in my bathroom, it is about 35mm long. What would be the effects to my dogs or my children?
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Discovery Centre 3 November, 2011 14:02

Hi Tristan,

If your children are stung by the marbled scorpion they may experience inflammation and pain for several hours. We would recommend that you seek medical advice if this was to occur, and for your children to avoid contact with the marbled scorpion. In regards to your pets, scorpions generally have no interest in them.  A pet may be stung if it stands on the scorpion or it was playing with it. The venom of this type of scorpion is fast acting and any reaction should be obvious quite quickly.

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Juli 25 November, 2011 02:33
Hi, i have just found a marbled scorpion in my bed, it has come in on the dog. We live in the Great Southern WA.
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travis 4 December, 2011 19:33
why isnt the biology of this species of scorpion very well known?
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Discovery Centre 5 December, 2011 12:41
Hi Travis, good question, the reason why not much is known of the biology is that there are hundreds of thousands of species of invertebrates and a limited number of experts trying to study them all. Often the species that we know the most about are the ones which pose problems for us, whether that be to our health or economy. Examples of this would be things like species of mosquito which carry malaria, or locusts which can damage crops.  
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Ms mountain 7 December, 2011 12:05
Hi, in the last few days we have found 2 marbled scorpions both in the kitchen. We live in the Dandenong ranges in Victoria. I'm just wondering how on earth they get inside and if they will keep coming as we have two dogs and walk around barefoot.
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Discovery Centre 9 December, 2011 14:49

Hi Ms Mountain, you shouldn't need to be too concerned. Scorpions can be brought into the house under the bark of firewood. They can also wander under the door while looking for food. They have no interest in people or pets but if you stand on one in bare feet you may be stung. You may want to try some of those draught excluders if you have large and obvious spaces under doors. If you get up in the night for a drink it may also pay to put on slippers or turn on lights and make sure there are no scorpions on the floor. There are postings above relating to pets and scorpions.

 

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Josh 10 April, 2012 13:01
Hi, I was at my great grandmother's house and today I found a scorpion that looks just like that in the laundry. I went in to get the mop bucket because we were doing some cleaning and I thought it was a dead spider. At a closer look I found it to be a scorpion that was very much alive. It looked a LOT like this one but do they happen to come so far as up to the Mallee (north-west) regions of Victoria? We caught it and though about taking it to the research center to be identified too.
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Discovery Centre 13 April, 2012 15:12
Hi Josh, I don't think this species of scorpion would extend up into the mallee country. There are a number of different scorpion species found in Victoria. Stings are relatively rare as scorpions are not interested in people. However if you stand on one or handle one it may sting in self defence. It is worth getting some medical attention in the event of a sting, just to be on the safe side.
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elaine 26 April, 2012 21:40
I have heaps of these things in my house and just want to find out how I can get rid of them. I"m finding at least 5 a day. I have been stung by one which was like a hot needle and was sore for around a day.
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Discovery Centre 5 May, 2012 11:27

Hi Elaine,

Your scorpions may have come into the house with firewood and bark, so if you have a pile of wood for a fire in the house, they may have inadvertently entered the house that way.  The best way to rid the house of these scorpions is to remove any firewood from the house and do not leave things lying on the floor.  Scorpions feed on small invertebrates so it is best to remove this habitat by cleaning away leaf litter and bark that is close to the house and cover compost and rubbish.  You can try installing draught excluders on all external doors. As scorpions prefer to live in the garden you can carefully collect (wearing heavy gloves) scorpions and put them back in the garden.

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Gill 27 September, 2012 23:52
Hi I think I have just found one of these scorpions in my house in Darwin. It is approx 13mm long and looks to be quite young. I have just re-located from Sydney and have just unpacked all my boxes. I could send a photo to identify. If this is a young one could there be more around the house.
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Elsabe 10 December, 2012 00:34
I just found a marbled scorpio in our toilet. Scared the heeby jeebies out of me since I am originally from South Africa and the scorpio species that you get there can get pretty dangerous. I live in Southern Cross, WA and wondered how common they are out here and what are the growing phases of these scorpions. This is certainly the smallest scorpion I have ever seen!
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dee 18 February, 2013 18:42
My daughter spotted one of these in our garden in north melbourne, im quite worried as it is the same colour as our tiles and very difficult to see
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Kathy Howard 11 March, 2013 01:26
Hi again, I just posted a question in another area of the scorpions questions. Anyway, I think our scorpions are the marbled ones. I have found a second for the night. My question before was is it possible it could have bred in the house. But now I am thinking a mother with young has obviously made her way into the house. How many young do they have so I know how many more to expect to see. It is every night now and I am seriously freaked out.
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discoverycentre 13 March, 2013 15:54

Marbled Scorpions are a particularly small species, so the scorpions you have may be adults or subadults rather than young specimens. It would be unlikely that Marbled Scorpions would breed inside the house, as the environment there is too dry for them and they desiccate very quickly. Very young scorpions are even more susceptible to desiccation. Adult scorpions may be entering the house due to the very hot and dry weather recently, but it should be a relatively short-lived phenomenon.

Amba 4 February, 2014 22:15
My marbled scorp has recently had 3 scorplings and are due to come off her back soon but what I'm concerned about is what to feed them because I don't have anything small enough all I have are medium-large crickets, woodies and mealworms that I feed my bearded dragon could they eat a prekilled cricket cut up? And three seems to be quite a small number of young is that normal? And just curious how long are they gravid? Thanks ^_^
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Discovery Centre 9 February, 2014 15:41

Hi Amba, we forwarded your questions to our Live Exhibits team here at the Museum, and the response is:

Young scorpions remain on the mother's back until they are ready to move off and feed on their own. The exception occurs when the conditions aren't right (such as low humidity), and in this case the female may consume her own young for the same reason (poor conditions). It's important to feed the female at this time to prevent cannibalism.

Young scorpions may consume a freshly killed cricket or wood roach, but will generally feed quite well on pinhead crickets. These are available from many pet shops.

The number of young per gestation period varies for a number of reasons, but in this species Lychas marmoreus it is usually more than three. You may want to consider how to improve the scorpions' enclosure, particularly regarding humidity, temperature and soil moisture.

Sheila Rowland 4 November, 2014 07:55
I just found a scorpion on my kitchen floor. It looks like a marbled scorpion and is about 3cms long. At first I thought it was dead but caught it in a jar anyway. It started to moved sluggishly so I wondered if they hibernate. It was about 17C overnight but has been getting up to 29 in the day.
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tanya buchanan 16 December, 2014 09:05
Hi, i am live on a property just outside toowoomba, I have learnt to co exist with these little fellas, they are always in the house, I do worry that my kids or dog will get stung, but we have all learnt to keep our eyes open for them.
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