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.
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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.
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 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 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.
4. 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
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.
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
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.
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.
9. Lobster Moth Caterpillar
Caterpillars are among the least likely creatures to resemble scorpions. You need to see The Lobster Moth Caterpillar (Stauropus fagi), however.
This is a type of caterpillar that raises its head and even looks like a crustacean.
A species that actually has 2 pairs of front legs and not prolegs as with most caterpillars, it impresses with its un-caterpillar appearance.
It can raise its head together with its 4 long legs. It even raises its rear end with its long cerci which makes this species look like a scorpion.
Much of its efforts are actually evolutionary adaptations. A caterpillar that looks like a scorpion is a caterpillar predators learn to stay away from.
Despite its atypical appearance, The Lobster Moth Caterpillar is mostly harmless.
Found in Europe and Asia, this is a caterpillar that feeds on tree leaves, without a significant impact on host trees.
Some of its favorite leaves include those of hardwood trees. In Europe, The Lobster Moth Caterpillar can be spotted on Acer, walnut, and beech.
In Asia, the caterpillar feeds on the leaves of hornbeams, chestnuts, oak, and willow.
10. Hairy Rove Beetle
Hairy Rove Beetles (Creophilus maxillosus) are some of the most atypical types of bugs that look like scorpions.
These bugs aren’t easily spotted either, despite living across North America. They only arise on carrion and people never investigate carrion.
Hairy Rove Beetles have good reasons to live on carrion as they eat the flies that feed on the carrion itself.
These types of beetles have a segmented body, similar to the segmented appearance of scorpions.
Even more, Hairy Rove Beetles are quite flexible, with the capacity to bend their abdomens.
Unlike scorpions bending forward, Hairy Rove Beetles curve into a ball. This is a defensive posture that helps them avoid common predators also coming around different types of carrion.
The presence of these bugs is also beneficial to forensics relying on the presence to establish the correct time of death.
11. Common Scorpion Spider
One of the multiple species of spiders that resemble scorpions includes The Common Scorpion Spider (Platyoides walteri).
This is a species that features a flattened shape, much like different types of scorpions.
Its body is mostly black, with orange or orange-brown legs.
Even the displacement of the legs indicates this species mimics scorpions. With their legs pointing outwards, Common Scorpion Spiders are mostly resembling more dangerous and sometimes lethal scorpions.
Apart from looking like scorpions to appear more dangerous, Common Scorpion Spiders also try to flatten their shape to live under tree bark.
The deeper these spiders go under tree bark, the more they can escape the high African heat.
12. Brown Scorpion Spider
Slightly similar to The Common Scorpion Spider, The Brown Scorpion Spider (Platyoides leppanae) is another flattened species that may look like an actual scorpion.
A flattened black abdomen is specific to this species. Brown Scorpion Spiders also have a rounded slightly flattened black cephalothorax.
Its legs show a combination of brown and black segments.
This is a species part of a wider range of sub-Saharan and South African spiders referred to as Scorpion Spiders due to their physical resemblance to scorpions.
13. Scorpion-tailed Spider
A native Australian arachnid, The Scorpion-tailed Spider (Arachnura higginsi) grows to 0.6 inches in the case of females and 0.1 inches in the case of males.
Females of this atypical spider species are highly similar to scorpions and one of the reasons why the species has been named after scorpions.
The female spider grows a long tail, tapering as it moves away from the body.
The scorpion-looking female comes in different colors from dark brown to yellow or orange. All of these colors are specific to the body and the tail.
Unlike most other spiders, The Scorpion-tailed Spider has a single main body part and not a split cephalothorax and abdomen.
Both the body and the continuing tail have a similar uniform color.
One exception applies to the tip of the tail, which can be pink, yellow, or orange to contrast the rest of the body and to supposedly look like a stinger.
While atypical, the female spider still spins simple spider webs.
The species can be found around Queensland and Tasmania.
14. Black Tail Spider
Black Tail Spiders (Arachnura melanura) are endemic to India and somewhat similar to Scorpion-tailed spiders.
This is a species with an elongated body and long tail. The color of the species, on the other hand, means it mimics leaves more than scorpions, despite its long tail.
A yellow or dark brown color means The Black Tail Spider actually mimics dead leaves. It resembles a dying leaf so that it doesn’t become a target for predators.
Mimicry allows it to build its spider webs out in the open where other spiders cannot survive ongoing predators.
A diurnal species, The Black Tail Spider can sometimes be spotted repairing its web during the day.
Its tail looks like part of a leaf while its body looks like a curled-up dead leaf when brown or a dying leaf when yellow.
In terms of food preferences, Black Tail Spiders eat all types of small insects. They rely on spider webs to trap these insects.
15. Tailed Forest Spider
Tan to pale yellow with gray nuances, Tailed Forest Spiders (Arachnura Feredayi) live in Australia and New Zealand.
Females of the species have an atypical elongated and tailed appearance which makes them stand out among spiders but which makes them overlooked by predators.
The atypical shape of the female includes a long tail that can flick up, just like the tail of various scorpions.
Male Tailed Forest Spiders are considerably smaller and lack such vigorous tails.
Females are also responsible for building their spider webs. These are small webs built and repaired during the day.
Eggs are laid here in a sac and flies are caught using its sticky threads. These webs are very important to the female as they take a lot of protein to build. As a result, females eat the old webs so that they can recycle the spider web more efficiently.
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.