Also known by their Latin name (Nepa Cinerea), Water Scorpions are insects that look similar to land Scorpions. Dark brown in colour and 3-5 cm in length, they certainly are a strange-looking insect. Strangest of it is their long narrow tail that looks like a sting. In fact, this is actually their breathing apparatus! They hang upside down with their tails stuck up out of the water so they are able to breathe air.
Amazingly, they can take enough air to stay under water for up to 30 minutes at a time. Water Scorpions also have fierce-looking front leg pincers. These are designed to pierce and grab hold of any passing Tadpoles and or baby Fish.
Habitat and Life Cycle
Water Scorpions can be found throughout the UK in fresh water ponds. These peculiar underwater predators spend most of their time crawling amongst shallow aquatic vegetation where they can hide and pounce on passing prey. Adult females can lay up to 30 eggs and the newly hatched Nymphs go through a series of metamorphic moults until they become adults. After each moult, their body shape changes, along with the length of tail, pincers and legs, until they end up looking like underwater scorpions.
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