7 Scorpion Characteristics: 7 Facts You Should Know!

Scorpions are invertebrate terrestrial animals which are mostly predatory in nature. Let us discuss some unique characteristics of this insect.

  • Taxonomically Scorpions belong to phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Chelicerata, Class Arachnida and Order Scorpiones.
  • A Scorpion’s body is divided into two parts cephalothorax and abdomen also called opithosoma. The abdomen is further segmented and subdivided into metasoma (pre-abdomen) and tail portion called the mesosoma along with four pairs of legs.
  • All scorpions have a second pair of appendages called pedipalps which possess the claw-like pincers called chelae.
  • The curved tail of the scorpions is divided into five segments and the posterior-most one called telson contains venom-filled vesicle.
  • Scorpions are adapted to live in diverse habitats including extreme desert climates by living inside burrows to protect them from heat and can withstand dehydration by maintaining osmotic blood pressure.
  • They are nocturnal animals who prey on smaller insects, spiders, lizards attacking them with their pincers.
  • Some Scorpions can fluoresce under ultraviolet light in blue-green color due to the presence of a compound in the cuticle of the hyaline layer of their exoskeleton.
  • Scorpions have unique mating rituals by attracting males through pheromones and a dancing courtship following which sometimes males are eaten by females.                

Now let us discuss some common facts related to scorpions.

Are scorpion insects?

Scorpions are often confused with insects both of which belong to the phylum Arthropoda. Let us find out if sc orpions can be called insects.             

Scorpions cannot be classified as insects because they do not have the body characteristic of class insects i.e three body segments head, thorax abdomen, jointed appendages, six legs, a pair of antenna and wings.

scorpion characteristics
Image credits : Scorpion image by MinoZig (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Are scorpions arachnids?

Since scorpions cannot be called insects, let us now find out if they can be classified as arachnids.

Scorpions possess all the characteristics of Arachnids like, two body segments cephalothorax and abdomen, four pairs of legs, extra pair of appendages and no antenna or wings. So they are classified as Arachnids.

Are scorpions and lobsters related?

Lobsters and scorpions have some similarities in structure so let us see if they are related or not.

Lobsters and Scorpions are distantly related because they both belong to the phylum Arthropoda and share a common ancestor from which they evolved.

Lobsters belong to the sub-phyla Crustaceans while scorpions belong to the sub-phyla Chelicerata under the umbrella of Arthropoda. They both are invertebrate land animals and have some anatomical similarities like possessing set of claws/pincers, hard exoskeleton, four pairs of legs. They are even believed to have evolved from an ancient arthropod called Aegirocassis benmoulae.

Are scorpions and spiders related?

Since scorpions and spiders share some similar morphology, let us now compare them to find if they are related.

Scorpions and spiders both not only belong to the same phylum Arthropoda but also in the same class Arachnida for which it is true that they are very closely related species.

From genome sequencing studies it has been found that they share a common ancestor from which both of their genomes arose due to gene duplication. That is why they share similar physical and behavioral characteristics. For example, both have four pairs of legs, body divided into two segments- a cephalothorax and abdomen without wings and antennae, compound eyes, hard exoskeleton and even similar eating and mating habits.

Are scorpions attracted to light?

We know there are any arthropods like moths who are attracted to light. Now let us find out if scorpions exhibit that characteristic.

Scorpions are actually nocturnal animals that go out to hunt preys during the night to avoid exposure from light. So scorpions are not attracted to light rather they avoid it to protect their body from heat.

Scorpions normally prefer dark, cool and moisture because they are sensitive to sunlight and live in burrows and holes during the day, to conserve the water stored in their body.

Are scorpions bioluminescent or bio-fluorescent?

Bioluminescence is the ability of some living organism to glow due to the presence of unique chemical reactions in the body, while biofluorescence allows animals glow through excitation from external light source.  Let us learn how scorpions glow.

Scorpions are bio-fluorescent in nature, giving off bluish-green glow through absorption of UV-light and emitting it at different wavelength.

Scientists have found fluorescent compounds like carbolin and methyl-coumarin in the hyaline layer of the cuticles present in the exoskeleton of scorpions. This helps them glow in the dark which attracts preys at night.

Image credits : Fluorescent Scorpion by Matt Reinbold (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Are scorpions blind?

There are some invertebrates that do not possess good eyesight and some are even completely blind. Let us discuss this characteristic in scorpions.

Scorpions have six to twelve eyes, with one pair at the cephalothorax and three to five smaller pairs along the front corners. So they are not blind but do not possess great eyesight because their eyes are light sensitive.

Are scorpions carnivores?

Most arachnids feed on other smaller animals, making them carnivores. So let us now see if scorpions also fall under that criterion.

Scorpions’ diet consists of variety of animals ranging from small insects, lizards, small rodents and other invertebrates.

Are scorpions cold blooded?

Cold-blooded animals are called so because they cannot regulate their body temperature according to the change with the surrounding. Let use learn if scorpions are cold-blooded.

Scorpions are cold-blooded creatures for which they need to protect themselves from heat during day and are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical climate.

Scorpions are more active during the warm months and use that period for mating and they mostly do not populate cold climatic areas.

Are scorpions crustaceans?

Crustaceans also belong in the phylum Arthropoda and possess hard shell. So, let us see if scorpions can be called crustaceans.

Though crustaceans possess a hard exoskeleton and segmented body just like scorpions, but they have antennae, gills, seven pairs of appendages and mostly found in marine habitats. Thus scorpions are not crustaceans.


From this article we learned different interesting facts about the invertebrate nocturnal animal scorpion like it is classified as arachnids, it can fluorescence under UV-light and it is closely related to spiders and are cold-blooded in nature.

Also Read: