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 !

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