The scorpion is a close relative of spiders, mites and ticks. It belongs to the group of arachnids. Scorpions have eight legs and are easy to recognize by their grasping pincers and a narrow, segmented tail, which is often carried in a characteristic curve forward over the back and always ends with a stinger. There are 1200 species of scorpion found around the world except in Antarctica, Greenland, New Zealand and a few small islands. Most species of scorpion live in hot climates. Few species are found in colder climates.
Scorpions vary in size depending on the species. Largest species of scorpions can reach 7 inches in length.
Scorpions don’t only use their stings to kill their prey – they use it to defend themselves against predators, too, such as snakes, lizards and birds.
Smallest species are usually 0.5 inches long.
Whilst the venom of most scorpions is only powerful enough to kill small creatures, there are around 30-40 species with a sting strong enough to kill a human.
Deadliest species of scorpions (with the strongest venom) are medium in size.
When food is scarce, scorpions can slow down their metabolism so much so that they are able to live off just one insect per year!
Scorpion’s body is covered with hard shell that acts as outer skeleton of the body. As the animal grows, it molts 5 to 7 times until it reaches adult size.
In the hot, dry deserts, where many species live, scorpions cope with the scorching heat of the sun by burrowing beneath the sand or soil.
Scorpion’s body is segmented and it consists of cephalothorax (fusion between head and thorax) and abdomen. Scorpions have 4 pairs of walking legs and a pair of pincers.
Scorpions use pincers to grab its prey. Venom is used both for attack and for defense. Scorpions are carnivores. They usually feed on insects.
Prehistoric fossils of scorpions found in Scotland show that their appearance hasn’t changed over the millennia.
Scorpion injects venom and digestive juices into the prey. Once digestion is completed, scorpion will suck liquid food from the body of the prey.
Scorpions have two venom glands that produce venom used in hunting and self defense.
Scorpions do not drink much water and they can survive very long time without water. Most of required water can be absorbed from the food.
Scorpions do not have bones instead they have an exoskeleton made of chitin, which is similar to the shell of a shrimp.
Type of food determines the type and strength of the venom. The most deadly species live in North America and Middle East. Out of 1200 known species, around 30 to 40 are deadly for humans.
Some scorpion species can have over 100 viviparous offspring, followed by the young climbing on the mother’s back for weeks until first molt and living independently.
When the prey is scarce, scorpions can slow down their metabolism and survive by eating only one insect per year. Also, frozen scorpions are able to “revive” when they are defrosted after exposing to the sun.
All scorpions are venomous.
Scorpions are also one of the rare animals that can survive nuclear detonation.
Even new born scorpions have venom.
Scorpions are nocturnal (active at night) creatures. They will hide under the rocks, leaves or in the abandoned building during the day.
The sting of the Bark Scorpion can be fatal to young children, the elderly and those who are allergic to the venom.
Predators of scorpions are birds (such as owl) and baboons.
There are more than 45 species of scorpions found in Arizona.
Scorpions glow under UV lamp. Scientists believe that production of fluorescent substance is associated with molting.
The gestational stage of scorpions can be as short as two months, or as long as 18 months, depending on the species.
Mating dance performed by females may last for hours. Males will release sperm on the ground and females will collect it. Eggs will develop inside the female’s womb, during a period of one year.
Scorpions are among the arthropods with the longest lifespans.
Female gives birth to live babies that are known as scorplings. Babies have venom in their body from the moment of their birth. They stay with mother until their first molt.
In the wild, scorpions typically live from two to ten years. In captivity, scorpions have lived as long as 25 years.