The terms scorpion and alacran are often confused with each other, the reason lying in its usage in Latin America. How are a scorpion and alacran different?
The scorpion is a predatory arachnid from the order Scorpiones. Scorpions are characterized by their eight legs, grasping pedipalps (pincers), and a segmented and often curved tail. Scorpions are feared because of their venomous stingers, located on their tails. The word comes from latin scorpio and is usually used to refer to the non-poisonous variety in Latin America, while it is a general term for the order in the United States.
The alacran is an old term that comes from the Arabic word al’aqrá. Alacran is a broad word that refers to different species in Latin America, usually reserved for the poisonous varieties. In some areas in Spain, it is also used to refer to bugs or insects that have similar characteristics. Some sources cite the alacran as a particular kind of scorpion – specifically, those who come from the family Typhlochactidae which serves as the only subfamily of the Alacraninae. This family of scorpions is endemic to eastern Mexico.
|Definition||A predatory arachnid with eight legs, pincers, and a narrow, segmented tail that is usually curved and may be equipped with a poisonous stinger.||A term for particular types of arachnids, possibly refers to a variety of scorpions found in east of Mexico|
|Etymology||From the Latin word scorpio||From the Arabic word al’aqrá|
|Family||Numerous superfamilies including Buthidae, Iuridae, and Scorpionidae||Most likely the Typhlochactidae family|
|Subfamily||Numerous subfamilies||Alacraninae, Typhlochactinae|
|Usage of the word||Refers to the order of predatory arachnids; used with a lot of species that carry the characteristics of the order||In Latin America, it is used as a broad term for species that carry similar characteristics as the scorpion known in the US; in Spain it is also used to refer to some bugs or crickets|