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What is a scorpion?
Scorpions are a tricky and confusing subject. Most people don’t know where to put them or how to classify them. And that’s because they are different from most animals and insects, but at the same time share common things with them. They look like crustaceans, have eight legs like spiders and a stinger like bees and wasps. They also produce venom, a common occurrence in a plethora of living animals like a lot of sea creatures.
Common species of scorpions:
The truth is scorpions have over 1750 species living in the world and all of them are in the same category. They belong in the animal kingdom, as they are not plants. They are arthropods because they have an exoskeleton (Their skeleton is on the outside, not the inside) and a segmented body. Finally, scorpions belong in the arachnid category. Yes, scorpions are cousins of spiders! Scorpions belong in the arachnid category because they have eight legs, no antennae or wings (which is a common trait amongst insects).
Where are scorpions found?
Scorpions are found all over the world, even if they are only native to a few places. Because of human commerce, scorpions have found their way into almost everywhere in the world, except for New Zealand and Antarctica. They have been around for a long time as well, for over 430 million years ago.
Is a scorpion an insect?
No, even though they might look and act similar to insects, scorpions are only qualified as arachnids. Arachnids normally have eight legs, no antennae or wings. Insects, on the other hand, have six legs, antennae and few of them have wings like bees and wasps. Scorpions, like many other arachnids, produce venom – highly lethal for most insects.
For more about what makes something an arachnid, read Can Spider Fangs Grow Back?
What class does a scorpion belong to?
Scorpions are predatory arachnids: they eat insects. But their diet does not stop there, insects are not the only meal available for scorpions as they feed off spiders, lizards, and other scorpions as well. Another thing that sets scorpions apart from insects is reproduction: scorpions are viviparous, which means they develop their babies inside their uterus. Scorpions reproduce when a male and female scorpion interact with each other sexually, unlike other insects, like ants, where only one queen is in charge of reproduction and isn’t viviparous – and in some cases, a queen ant doesn’t need a male counterpart to reproduce.
Is a scorpion a reptile?
No, a scorpion is not a reptile. Some people might confuse scorpions with reptiles due to their looks and the habitat where you may find them. Reptiles often find themselves living in extremely arid places, like the desert. But the matter of fact is scorpions can survive almost everywhere, not the desert alone. Proof of this is how the scorpion has found itself adapting to almost every country there is in the world, with only two exceptions, Antarctica and New Zealand.
Where do scorpions live?
Amazingly so, scorpions have found the way to adapt to sand, mountains, trees and almost everything you can think of. There are also other obvious differences between scorpions and reptiles. Scorpions have eight legs and an exoskeleton. All reptiles have only four legs and their skeletons are protected by their skin. Scorpions’ and reptiles’ categories are well far apart. A scorpion is more similar to an insect than to a reptile. And reptiles are closer to birds than to scorpions.
Is a scorpion a crustacean?
No, a scorpion is not a crustacean. They are similar, so it’s common for people to confuse scorpions with the crustaceans. The main difference is their habitat. Even though scorpions can survive virtually anywhere, they are animals that live on land. Scorpions can survive underwater for a while, thanks to their book lungs which allows them to fill their system with enough air to survive up to 48 hours underwater. After the 48 hours are up, the scorpions will begin to die if he stays underwater. Unlike most crustaceans who can survive -and live- underwater. The scorpion looks similar to most crustaceans due to their exoskeleton and resembling looking grasping claws. Even though scorpions are not a crustacean, they are distant cousins. The crustacean category belongs in the arthropod category, which arachnids (scorpions included) share as well. That’s why they have so many similar traits but are rather different when you take a look at the details.
Is a scorpion a spider?
No, but they are closely related. More so than scorpions and crustaceans. As you know, scorpions are arthropods who belong in the arachnid category. And so are spiders. But they are different animals altogether. Even though they are similar, they share a couple of differences. For example, the spider is even more resilient than scorpions, as they have found themselves everywhere except Antarctica. Scorpions are almost everywhere as well, except Antarctica and New Zealand, the latter being a place with a lot of spiders. Scorpions use their stinger to inject venom, where spiders use their fangs. Spiders can produce silk to create their infamous spider web, where scorpions have no similar ability.
If you’re getting curious about poisonous spiders from reading all this, you may want to check out our article Which Spiders are Poisonous in Certain States (and Canada)?
Is there such a thing as a scorpion spider?
Even though they are closely related, they are completely different visually speaking. If you see a spider and a scorpion together, you could quickly identify and separate the two of them into different categories – even though they share the same. If someone who didn’t know had to guess, a scorpion is probably closer to a crustacean or a reptile, rather than the true answer, the spider.
Can a scorpion be considered an animal?
Scorpions are most definitely animals. There is a common misconception as to how animals and insects are different categories, but they are not, Matter of fact, insects are inside the animal kingdom. Of course, as you already know, scorpions are not insects, but arachnids. Arachnids are a part of the animal kingdom as well. In the grand scheme of things, there are only two categories of living creatures: Animals (or animal kingdom) and plants (or plant kingdom). Of course, scorpions aren’t plants. Which leaves you the only option of them being animals.
What’s the difference between a scorpion and a centipede?
A lot of people believe scorpions and centipedes are similar, and they are not wrong. They are not the same, or in the same category.
- Bear in mind, scorpions are predatory arachnids, which makes them arthropods. Centipedes are arthropods as well, as they have an exoskeleton protecting them from harm. But they are not arachnids.
- As you know, arachnids are identified by their number of legs -eight legs per arachnid- and their lack of antennae and wings. Centipedes only share one of the arachnids’ traits: their lack of wings. But when it comes to legs, they have way more than eight.
- Centipedes can have a wide number of legs, from a minimum of 30 to a shocking 354 legs. Funnily enough, there are no known centipedes with 100 legs. Centipedes also have antennae, a trait that distinguishes them visually from other arachnids.
- Centipedes share some similarities with scorpions. They are predatory arthropods, just like any other arachnid. They are also carnivores who use their venom to hunt down their prey, just like scorpions and spiders.
What makes scorpions special or different?
There are a lot of characteristics that set scorpions apart from other species. As you know, they are one of the most resilient animals there are. They share a lot of common things with lots of animals, like their venom, their looks or how they reproduce. But there are a few particular things that make them rather special.
- For one, they glow. Well, if you have a UV light, you can make them glow. Scientists are not sure why, but all scorpions become fluorescent if you shine UV light on them.
- They also have a curious mating ritual. Before they mate, a male and a female scorpion perform a dancing ritual to see if they are fit for each other. Afterward, they’ll engage in the sexual act that can last from one to twenty-four hours.
- But it has to be the right amount of time, not too little not too much, or the female will get bored and disengage. And there are rare cases where they engage in sexual cannibalism, just like a praying mantis would.
Are scorpions dangerous?
It depends on who you ask and which scorpion you are talking about. If you are wondering if scorpions are dangerous for bugs and small animals, they most definitely are. Their venom can paralyze and kill most of the small members of the animal kingdom. Twenty-five of them is dangerous enough to kill a human. If you are crossing paths with a scorpion, it’s probably not dangerous enough to end your life, but it’s best to stay away.
Do scorpions have a relationship with humans in any way?
Humans have a long-lasting relationship with scorpions. Some people choose to have them as pets, even though scientists are not sure if scorpions can form an emotional bond with humans. There are certain cultures where scorpions are used as food, as well. There are certain toxins in scorpion’s venom that may prove beneficial for humans and scientists are studying that as well. But truth be told, scorpions probably prefer to be left alone, far away from human civilization.
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