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Land invertebrates


Scorpion in the southwestern US desertScorpion in the southwestern US desert Scorpions are types of arachnids with venomous stings at the end of their tails and sharp, grasping pincers either side of their jaws. They are solitary, nocturnal hunters, using their stings to paralyse or kill their prey. Most scorpions eat insects or spiders, using their saliva to turn body tissues into liquid which they then suck up. Larger species can also feed on lizards, snakes and small mammals. In the desert, scorpions spend most of the day hiding under rocks. They only come out at dusk or dawn.

The giant hairy desert scorpionThe giant hairy desert scorpion
Close-up view of a scorpion's stingerClose-up view of a scorpion's stinger


Scorpions have poor eyesight, so they rely on hairs on their pincers to sense vibrations and tell them when prey is close by. The giant desert hairy scorpion from America is covered in brown hairs, which help it to detect vibrations. It grows up to 15 centimetres (about 6 inches) long, and feeds on large prey such as lizards.

Scorpions also have sense organs along their tails that can visually detect ultraviolet light—so they are using their skeletons to illuminate their environment and see where they are going.


Out of nearly 2000 species of scorpion, only about 25 have venom powerful enough to kill a human. Most scorpions will only sting if provoked.

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