It may surprise you to learn that scorpions are not insects, but come from the animal class arachnids. This means that they, like spiders, have eight legs. Not all scorpions are the same. There are over 1700 different species of scorpions such as the Arizona Bark scorpion and the Emperor scorpion. They do all have some similar features, however, that we will describe below.
What do scorpions look like?
Like all arachnids scorpions have eight legs, but, unlike spiders, they also have a pair of large pincers and a long tail with a venomous stinger at the end. They have a hard outer exoskeleton that comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, blue, yellow, and green.
Scorpions also come in a range of different sizes. The smallest scorpions grow to around ½ inch long, while the largest scorpions can grow to over 8 inches long.
1 = Cephalothorax
2 = Abdomen
3 = Tail
4 = Claws
5 = Legs
6 = Mouth
7 = pincers
8 = Moveable claw or Manus
9 = Fixed claw or Tarsus
10 = Sting or Telson
Where do they live?
Scorpions live throughout much of the world and in most every habitat. This includes deserts, rainforests, grasslands, and caves. They like to burrow into the soil, sand, or rocks making them difficult for both predators and prey to spot.
What do scorpions eat?
They mostly eat insects, but some of the larger ones may occasionally eat a small lizard or rodent. When hunting, they grab their prey with their claws and then paralyze it with their stinger.
How poisonous are scorpions?
All scorpions are poisonous. Some poisons are specific for certain prey and are more toxic to some animals than others. Of all the scorpion species, there are around 25 that can be deadly to humans. You should never play with a scorpion. If you see one, be sure to let your parent or teacher know.
Are they endangered?
Some species of scorpions are rarer than others, but, in general, scorpions are not endangered. A few species, like the emperor scorpion, are protected in order to keep collectors from taking too many from the wild.
Fun Facts about Scorpions
Different species have different life spans. Most live between 4 to 25 years.
When food is scarce, a scorpion can slow down its metabolism to the point where it can survive for up to a year on a single meal.
They are nocturnal, sleeping during the day and coming out at night to hunt for food.
Predators of scorpions include lizards, rats, birds, and possums.
They do not see very well, but rely mostly on touch and smell.
Baby scorpions, called scorplings, are carried on their mother's back until they are able to survive on their own.