Water Scorpion

Subject: Bug in pool
Location: Southern Ontario
July 11, 2016 6:49 am
Hello Bugman!
This bug was in our pool for over a day. My daughter caught it in a jar so we could look at it better, and get it out of our pool! It looks like it has a long skinny stinger at the back It’s summertime here. Thanks so much!
Signature: Gretchen

Water Scorpion
Water Scorpion

Dear Gretchen,
This is a Water Scorpion, an aquatic predator whose common name refers to the painful bite that might result if it is carelessly handled or accidentally encountered while swimming or wading.  Water Scorpions are capable of flying from one body of water to another.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is actually a breathing tube.  This description of a Water Scorpion comes from the Northern State University website:  “Water scorpions are not really scorpions, but insects with only 3 pairs of legs and 2 pairs of wings. Their name comes from their specialized grasping forelimbs, superficially similar to the anterior ‘pincers’ of scorpions, and an elongate caudal siphon or breathing tube, which conjures up the image of the scorpion’s long stinging tail. In both cases, these features are completely different from their scorpion counterparts. The forelegs of a true scorpion have a powerful pincer – similar to that of a crab or lobster – at the tip. The forelegs of the water scorpions are likewise adapted for grasping prey, but lack pincers; instead, they use a jack-knifing design with the outer segments folding into a groove to secure prey. The tail of a scorpion has 6 rounded segments with a terminal venomous spine, and can be folded forward over the animal’s back. The tail siphon of the water scorpions is actually two straight filaments pressed against one another; the siphon is not jointed, can pivot only at the base, and does not sting. It is used to obtain air from the water surface, much like a snorkel.”

Leave a Comment