Influences Of Urban Land Use On The Frequency Of Scorpion Stings In The Phoenix Metropolitan Area (poster)


Between 3000-4000 people report being stung by scorpions each year in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area, but the frequency of stings is not distributed evenly across the metro area: certain portions of the city consistently report higher numbers of scorpion stings. I overlaid data from the Phoenix Samaritan Regional Poison Center about the number of scorpion stings per ZIP Code onto a Geographic Information System coverage of land use in the Phoenix metro area. I then compared the types and amounts of land use among ZIP Codes that differed in the number of scorpion stings. The number and geographic location of scorpion stings in the Phoenix metro area was reflected in the presence and abundance of some forms of urban land-use. Density of single-family homes and proximity to undeveloped open space were good predictors of the frequency of scorpion stings; other forms of land-use were unrelated to the number of scorpion stings in an area. These results suggest that undeveloped areas may act as sources for urban scorpions. It is hoped that these results may shape future urban development in Phoenix so as to minimize human-scorpion contacts.