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 ScorpionPhotographer: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi Eamon, Little Marbled Scorpions (Lychas marmoreus) live under rocks and stones and in leaf litter, and therefore feed on small invertebrates that live there such as slaters, springtails, earwigs and small beetles. In captivity, they are usually fed small (pinhead) crickets available from pet shops. Scorpions have a very low metabolism (that is, they don’t need much energy to survive) and spend almost all their time doing nothing, so don’t need to feed more than once a week and often less. The ideal method is to put a small prey item in the enclosure every week or two, and remove the prey if it’s not eaten within two days.
Hi Chris, The main predator of scorpions are other scorpions and predators such as birds, mammals, ants, centipedes, spiders, reptiles and amphibians. Cannibalism appears to be a factor in regulating the size of scorpion populations.
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