Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger. Scorpions range in size from 9 mm (Typhlochactas mitchelli) to 21 cm (Hadogenes troglodytes).
Scorpions are found widely distributed over all continents, except Antarctica, in a variety of terrestrial habitats except the high latitude tundra. Scorpions number about 1,752 described species, with 13 extant families recognised to date. The taxonomy has undergone changes and is likely to change further, as a number of genetic studies are bringing forth new information.
The scorpion has a fearsome reputation as venomous, and about 25 species are known to have venom capable of killing a human being.
Scorpion Sting and Venom
All known scorpion species possess venom and use it primarily to kill or paralyze their prey so that it can be eaten; in general, it is fast-acting, allowing for effective prey capture. It is also used as a defense against predators. The venom is a mixture of compounds (neurotoxins, enzyme inhibitors, etc.) each not only causing a different effect, but possibly also targeting a specific animal. Each compound is made and stored in a pair of glandular sacs and is released in a quantity regulated by the scorpion itself. Of the 1000+ known species of scorpions, only 25 have venom that is dangerous to humans; most of those belong to the family Buthidae. However, all scorpions are able to penetrate human skin and deliver sharp, unpleasant stings, most of which usually leave redness around the stung area.