Scorpion Anatomy and Dictionary

Surfing around and visiting various websites, forums and email lists, you might find yourself getting a bit confused as to what people are talking about. Hopefully we'll be able to clear up a lot of this here.

1- Pedipalps: what many may call pinchers.
2- Chelicera: not really the mouth, but appendages that feed the mouth.
3- Cephalothorax or Prosoma: otherwise known as the head, this is where the eyes are located.
4- Mesosoma: the body. Part of the Abdomen, has seven separate segments.
5- Metasoma: the tail. Part of the Abdomen, has five connected segments.
6- Telson: this is where the stinger is located.
7- Aculeus: the actual hypodermic needle-like singer.
8- Legs: the legs are divided in to 8 different segments. But all of them make up the legs.
9- Pectins/Pectines: These feather-like appendages on the underside of the scorpion help it feel the ground. They are useful in sexing a scorpion as males tend to have longer pectines.
10- Genital operculum: this is a small area just forward of the pectines and can be useful in identifying the sex of a scorpion.

Common Terms

Arborial: These scorpions tend to live life above ground in trees or plants. Bark Scorpions are good examples of Arborial Scorpions.

Gravid: pregnant

Ecdysis: the act of molting

Instar: Stages between molts. After they are born they are refered to as "1st Instar" then "2nd Instar" after their first molt (and so on).

Molt/Moult: 1- the act shedding of old exoskeleton. 2 -The material cast off during molting. Scorpions only molt 7 times, unlike tarantulas which molt indefinately.

Nymph: A newborn scorpion before its first molt

Obligate Burrower: These scorpions are compelled to burrow. Emperor scorpions and Desert Hairy scorpions are examples of Obligate Burrowers.

Opportunistic Burrower: These scorpions will often take over burrows left by other animals, or in small hides under rocks, tree roots, etc. Most Parabuthids (African Fat Tail, etc) are Opportunistic Burrowers.

Pinheads: Very small crickets. Perfect for feeding small 1st and 2nd instar scorpions

Scrape: A small area under a log/rock in which Opportunistic Burrowers hide.

Substrate: ground material (sand, soil, etc).

Terrestrial: These scorpions spend all their time on the ground and don't venture up trees or plants

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