Not so scary scorpions

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Arthropod: animals that typically have hard segmented outer shells that work as a skeleton (exoskeleton). This includes spiders and insects as well as other animals......more

Pincer: the grabbing mouth parts of an arthropod such as an ant... more

Telson: the end of the tail of an arthropod such as lobsters, millipedes, and scorpions.

Scorpion Mouth

Just one look at the mouth of a scorpion makes you glad to know you are not one of its favorite foods. With their pincers, any prey that is caught will be quickly pulled apart and prepared to eat. The whole process is one that has been described by author Conrad Storad. You can read about it below, or have Conrad read it to you by playing the audio below the text.

Sticky Stew

These animals are fierce hunters. They will attack anybody, including their brothers and sisters. In fact, other than insects, this animal's favorite food is one of its own species. When they are hungry, they will find a place on the ground or a tree to sit. Then they wait. The animal stays perfectly still. It might wait for hours, until an animal like a cricket comes close enough to touch. Then, faster than you can blink your eye, it grabs the cricket with its strong pincers. It holds on, while its tail swoops down like a whip.

The telson stings the unlucky cricket again and again and again. The cricket can't move. Now, the animal can take its time tearing the cricket into small pieces. It breaks each piece into tiny bits with its pincers and jaws. When the pile of bits is big enough, it spits strong juices from its mouth onto the pieces. The juices melt the pieces into a sticky stew. When the stew is gooey enough, it drinks until all of the cricket is gone.

- or play without flash here.

You can listen to more of Conrad Storad and biologist Michael Quinlin talk about scorpions in the Ask A Biologist podcast - Stringing Mystery.

Scorpion Mouth Up Close


A scanning electron microscope was used to capture this image of the mouth parts of a scorpion. The pedipalps (pinchers) and chelicerae (jaws) are used to capture prey. They are covered with various types of sensory hairs.

Credits: Deathstalker scorpion with cricket from Published under Creative Commons.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Scorpion Mouth
  • Author(s): Christopher Putnam
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: December 23, 2009
  • Date accessed: July 15, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Christopher Putnam. (2009, December 23). Scorpion Mouth. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved July 15, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Christopher Putnam. "Scorpion Mouth". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 23 December, 2009.

MLA 2017 Style

Christopher Putnam. "Scorpion Mouth". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 23 Dec 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 15 Jul 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
Deathstalker scorpion

A cricket is about to become a meal for a Deathstalker scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus).

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