8 Bugs That Look Like Scorpions (but They Aren’t)

Scorpions are carnivorous arachnids. They are sometimes seen with fear since they eat spiders and even lizards.

It’s estimated there are more than 2.000 species of scorpions around the world. This is why many bugs resemble one of the many species of scorpions found on all continents.

Scorpion Identification

The average scorpion measures around 2.5 inches. This makes it a large arthropod among its terrestrial counterparts.

Most scorpions eat invertebrates while some of them can also eat vertebrates.

What Do Scorpions Look Like


Scorpions are terrestrial arachnids of various colors. They have 8 legs just like spiders. A pair of pincers and a long pointed segmented tail are the 2 main characteristics of the species.

These pincers are used for predatory purposes. Scorpions use their pincers to grab onto prey.

Scorpion pincers and tails are also used against natural predators such as birds and tarantulas.


Scorpions are well-adapted creatures to almost all harsh conditions. These arachnids are known for surviving hot weather and cold weather.

Adaptations include a rare ability to slow down the metabolism. This process allows scorpions to survive with little to almost no food at all for long periods.

Habitat and Distribution

Scorpions are known for living in deserts in the US. But they have adapted to tropical and temperate climates around the world.

Scorpions are found on almost all continents at low and high elevations.

Most scorpions are active at night when the temperature is lower. They can be hiding in burrows or under rocks during the day.

Other scorpions that benefit from a camouflage-like body color can also be resting in plain sight during the day.

Bugs That Look Like Scorpions

The following species are known to resemble scorpions the most.

1. Pseudoscorpions


Pseudoscorpions are also known as False scorpions. These bugs are very small compared to scorpions as they measure anywhere between 2 and 8mm.

There are over 3.000 species of pseudoscorpions with distinct colors and traits.

Coloring and habits depend on their environment. As real scorpions, pseudoscorpions live all over the world, including in Northern US and Canada.

The species is the most common tropical and subtropical climates.

Pseudoscorpions live up to 3 years.

Most people see pseudoscorpions as beneficial as they eat common pests. Pseudoscorpions eat clothes moth larvae, ants, mites, and all types of household flies and larvae.

Since they’re smaller than real scorpions, pseudoscorpions are routinely mistaken for spiders when seen inside the house.

This is a historic species with impressive longevity, first described as Aristotle. Its wide body and ability to move sideways also led pseudoscorpions to be known as Land crabs.

2. Whip scorpions

Whip scorpion

Whip scorpions look like Emperor scorpions (a species of black scorpions). The species gets its name from its whip-like tail that resembles the tail of scorpions.

The species is prevalent in tropical and subtropical climates. It’s also found in high numbers in Africa where it either lives in burrows or under rocks or logs.

Scorpions of the genus are known for stinging their prey and carrying it back to their burrows.

Whip scorpions also have 8 legs. But the 2 front legs are only used for moving around and guidance as this species uses 6 legs for actual movements.

Known for an all-black coloring, these scorpions’ look-alikes grow to a maximum length of 85mm.

Like real scorpions, they prefer to be active at night, even if they can be seen out during the day.

Whip scorpions get out at night, mainly seeking food. Preferred prey includes insects, isopods, and even worms.

3. Water Scorpions

Water scorpion

Water Scorpions are some of the most common water insects that are similar to scorpions. The resemblance of the species is not as high as with Pseudoscorpions.

However, Water scorpions have 2 front raptorial forelegs and a very long tail which resembles the segmented tail of scorpions.

This tail is not used to sting prey. However, Water Scorpions still possess a painful bite.

These water bugs are known for living in still water or slow-moving waters around the world such as in canals.

Body size varies but it can reach a maximum of 1.8 inches. These water bugs have also been known to fly, even if they resort to this rarely.

One of the most important physical trails that makes them resemble scorpions is the way they catch onto prey.

Front legs are raptorial appendages. Resembling claws, these appendages are used to catch and hold on to prey.

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4. Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle

Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle

This species of beetle is identified by a black body and black wings.

The beetle is known to take a scorpion-like position whenever it faces a predator. It raises its abdomen and it opens its pincer jaws ready for attack.

Devil-s Coach Horse Beetle doesn’t sting but it can bite.

This beetle is known for eating a large variety of invertebrates such as worms. Its strong jaws are often used to cut prey into smaller pieces that are easier to chew.

Most beetles of the genus are active at night and rarely seen looking for prey during the day.

The species is common in most parts of Europe as well as in North African countries.

5. Camel spiders

Camel spider

Part of the Arachnida genus, Camel spiders are sometimes compared to scorpions. However, these arachnids are neither spiders nor scorpions.

They have 8 legs as spiders and they move fast terrestrially just like spiders.

There are more than 1.100 species of Camel spiders around the world. All of them are native to deserts around the world. With their presence on all continents, Camel spiders are seen everywhere apart from Antarctica and Australia.

Some of the species are known for having large central eyes. These can distinguish light and form, making them efficient at finding and capturing prey.

Reproduction rates for Camel spiders are high. Females are responsible for digging burrows in the sand and laying anywhere between 40 and 200 eggs at once.

6. Scorpionflies


These insects are often compared to scorpions. Males have long genitalia raised above the body which resembles the tail of scorpions.

Not much is known about the preferred diets of Scorpionflies in the US. Some data suggest these insects are scavengers while others show the flies have a predatory behavior.

However, scorpionflies are often seen eating fruits and nectar. They are also seen eating insects, especially dead insects.

Scorpionflies also eat dead insects and dead animals, similar to many bugs.

Most scorpionflies in the US live in meadows and natural habitats next to woodlands.

7. Ichneumon Wasps

Ichneumon Wasp

These flies resemble scorpions due to their ability to raise their abdomen. The curved up abdomen of the flies resembles the scorpion raise tail position.

There are more than 25.000 species of Ichneumon wasps around the world which means specifics about their diets and habitat remain debatable.

The scientific world sometimes refers to these wasps as Darwin wasps. However, most subspecies of the genus are known to vaguely resemble wasps which can cause further confusion.

What is known is that mating behaviors of Ichneumon wasps are similar.

These wasps are known for having a multi-purpose ovipositor which is also used to insert venom.

Female Ichneumon wasps insert venom and eggs in their hosts for the eggs to develop.

These hosts are normally the larvae of Lepidoptera moths.

This wasp species is sometimes seen as beneficial as female Ichneumon wasps prefer to lay eggs inside agricultural pest moths.

8. Earwig


Earwigs are sometimes compared with scorpions for their pincers. These pincers are found at the end of the abdomen.

Earwig pincers are given both defense and offense roles. They are used by Earwigs to defend themselves from predators as well as to catch prey.

Many people wrongly associate earwigs with bugs that bite humans, but they are rarely aggressive towards people.

Earwigs are nocturnal creatures that come out to eat at night. They are seen during the day only when disturbed by people or other animals as they tend to hide under leaves and debris.

Earwigs are mostly dark brown with yellow legs. Cerci called pincers are also dark brown and used to capture prey efficiently.

Commonly seen on decaying leaves and vegetation, earwigs can also be scavengers. They might not use their pincers or rarely rely on their pincers as tools to get food.

Unlike other bugs that look like scorpions, earwigs can also make their way indoors seeking humidity. They can lay up to a few hundred eggs at once and taking preventive measures such as sealing cracks in walls is mandatory for keeping them out.


Scorpions are sometimes feared for their pincers and their venomous bite. Bugs can sometimes appear as scorpions for defensive purposes that help them keep predators away.

Other bugs are known for using pincers to grab prey. A long tail that’s raised for the attack is also making many bugs resemble scorpions.

Most of these bugs are found all over the world, particularly in warm tropical and subtropical climates. Bugs that look like scorpions are common in deserts around the world and they are seen on almost all continents except Antarctica.

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