Water Scorpion

Nepa cinerea

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Bugs
  4. Water Scorpion


An underwater predator, the Water Scorpion hides amongst dead leaves where it waits to ambush its prey (including tadpoles and small fish) with its grabbing pincers. It lives in still water ponds and lakes and is common around the shallow edges of garden ponds. It is not a true scorpion and is a poor swimmer, preferring to move by walking. Mating takes place in spring and the females lay their eggs at night amongst algae or plants just below the surface of the water. The larvae hatch and progress to adulthood through a series of moults known as an 'incomplete metamorphosis'.

How to identify

Unmistakeable: the Water Scorpion is dark brown with large, pincer-like front legs, leaf-shaped body and a long 'tail'.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: encourage all kinds of insects from Water Scorpions to dragonflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. In turn, they'll provide vital food for other creatures such as frogs and toads. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Water Scorpion
Latin name
Nepa cinerea
Length: 3.5cm including long 'tail'
Conservation status