Scorpion Life Cycle

Image of a Scorpion

Life Cycle Stages

The scorpion life cycle varies depending upon the species. Despite this, it always begins when the male and female mate in the fall or early spring. Most, but not all species, begin the cycle by reproducing sexually in a series of actions that involves an interesting ritual.

Reproduction
To convey their interest in a female scorpion, males employ chemical attractants called pheromones. They also give off focused bodily vibrations.

When a female is found, the male uses his pedipalps (the scorpion legs that look like claws or pincers) to grab onto the female’s pedipalps. While holding onto each other, they conduct a “dance”. The male then leads them to a place where he deposits his sperm.

The sperm is contained within a structure called a spermatophore. While in contact with it, the female draws sperm into her genital pore, fertilizing the eggs. For some species, the mating process may last over 24 hours.

Sexual cannibalism, while rare among scorpions, can sometimes occur. For this reason, the male quickly leaves the female when mating is finished.

Eggs

The fertilized eggs develop within the female’s body. Depending on the species, gestation may take a few months to as long as one year.

Nymphs

When the young are born, they look like a small version of the parents. Shortly after birth, the nymphal-stage scorpions climb up onto their mother’s back. They will remain there until their first molt.

Development
After the first molt, which occurs about two weeks after birth, the nymphs climb down and scatter. During their life cycle, scorpions typically molt five or six times until they reach maturity.

While scorpions develop slowly, they have long lives compared to spiders and insects. Typically, scorpions live for three to five years, but some can live as long as ten to fifteen years.

Encounters & Concerns

Most scorpions live alone under:

  • Rocks
  • Bark
  • Wood
  • Other ground-based objects

Around homes, scorpions seek protection under:

  • Boards
  • Stacked lumber
  • Firewood piles

They gain entry through:

  • Poorly sealed windows
  • Gaps around doors