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A Scorpion ? A Spider ?

A renewed interest in spiders in the last 5 years prompted me to read up about the various spiders we have in India. And, ever since I stumbled upon this specific one, I have had this urge to see one in person and photograph it – due to the intriguing name it sports!

I was walking a trail with the naturalists at Kabini River Lodge when we spotted this spider. One of the naturalists suddenly stopped as he was about to walk straight into the web and drew my attention to what was in front of him. It turned out to be the Scorpion Spider ! The excitement among all of us soared. In spite of knowing pretty well that the spider was not going to disappear, all of us were still vying to get a closer look of the scorpion look alike!

The Scorpion Spider is a spider indeed. It has all the characteristics of a spider. Just that its body is elongated and resembles that of a scorpion, tail, sting and all. In fact, the genus to which it belongs to Arachnura simply means “spider with a tail” (arachne = spider; ura=tail). When disturbed these spiders do raise the tail part of their body enhancing their resemblance to a scorpion. There ends all relationship to scorpions. If you are expecting it to sting like the scorpions do, don’t worry, these spiders don’t sting !

Scorpion Spider with "tail" raised.

The Scorpion Spider is an orb-weaving spider. As can be seen in the pictures, it sits on the web with all its legs pulled up close and looking like some dry twig or leaf. The pattern on the body further enhances this camouflage.

Scorpion Spider with egg cases.

Subsequently, I have chanced upon these spiders in other places too, the forests in the vicinity of Dubare Elephant Camp being one such.

So, the next time, before you just walk past a spider web thinking that it has only some debris, pause for a second closer look. You may be staring at a Scorpion Spider !

  • Aishwarya

    Informative as always…. Hopefully I will get to see these really soon :D

  • http://sumsarena.blogspot.com Sumana

    It does look like a dry leaf! Interesting and informative…

  • http://radha-rangarajan.blogspot.com/ Radha

    Very informative, as always Karthik. Will take a closer look at debris-webs going forward!

  • Sugandhi

    Fantastic. especially loved the name and what it means :) And, +1 with Aishwarya

  • http://www.natureclicks.in Saandip Nandagudi

    Very Informative post.. yet to see one & will lookout carefully next time i see a orb..

  • Uma

    Wow! Hearing about this spider for the first time! Superb informative post as always! What camouflage!

  • Deepa Mohan

    Never heard of this one before….and I wonder if I’ve passed it by, unnoticing….thanks for the info. Is it endemic to India, or the Indian subcontinent?

  • http://mamtanaidu.livejournal.com/ Mamta

    Wow! Fascinating guys! Can’t wait to see them live…

  • Viswanath Vittal

    Very nice pictures and write up. However, these spiders differ from the true tailed spiders, the Hersilia species in that the spinnerets are not found at the end of the “tail”. Could you please confirm that?

  • http://www.connectwithnature.in Kesava

    Karthik,

    Nice informative writeup as always. As Deepa asks, is it endemic to our place?

    Cheers

  • chitra

    Wonderful find and beautiful pics

  • http://www.wildwanderer.com Karthik

    Hello Deepa and Keshav !
    These spiders i.e. spiders belonging to the genus Arachnoura have a wide distribution – Africa to New Zealand – and therefore, the genus is not endemic to India. The genus is represented by over a dozen species with only 2 reported from India so far with one being endemic to India.

  • http://www.wildwanderer.com Karthik

    You are right Vittal. In the Hersilia the spinnerets are pronounced and look like tails. In the case of the Scorpion Spider the spinnerets are not at the tip of the tail.

  • Vikram Hiresavi

    I still can’t believe that’s a spider there in those snaps! :-) Nice one, Karthik!! Will definitely be looking out for these now!

  • Ramya

    Agree with Vikram….it’s hard to believe that’s a spider! Amazing how Nature arms her various children. Thanks for sharing this Karthik.

  • Uma Bharath

    Karthik, another lovely post from you. Is this spider’s resemblance to a scorpion a case of mimicry? Thanks in advance.

  • http://backpakker.blogspot.com lakshmi

    wow..a scorpion spider ! thanks Karthik for another interesting post