Giant Sea Scorpion
If you think today’s land scorpions are creepy enough, this beast would have given you nightmares for weeks. Bigger than your average family car, the giant sea scorpion was the largest bug and largest arthropod (animal without a backbone) the world has ever known.
How big was it?
A fossilised claw unearthed in Germany measured some 46 centimetres (18 inches). Based on calculations this would make the water-based bug 2.5 metres (8-feet) in length, longer than many of today’s crocodiles. The discovery of the claw also provides lends credence to the theory that ancient spiders, insects and crabs were humungous giants too.
What did it eat?
During its reign of terror, this water-based creepy-crawly enjoyed a fish-based diet, most of which had no jaw making them easy-pickings. Not to be limited to one menu, these aquatic scorpions also leant towards cannibalistic tendencies, thinking nothing of devouring its own species.
How did it hunt?
The giant sea scorpion was restricted to the water when it came to hunting as its legs were not strong enough to support its massive body. Still, it wasn’t short on choice and had its pick of marine life. Its attacking stance was similar to that of the Praying Mantis. It would fold its pincers and suddenly strike with teeth-laden claws. These serrated claws allowed it to grab even the most slippery of fish dishes and would have been quite capable of ripping a man to shreds.
When was it around?
This aquatic beast lived long before even the first dinosaur walked the Earth, existing as far back as 400million years ago before becoming extinct around 255million years ago.
The term ‘sea scorpion’ can be considered somewhat misleading. Firstly, these creatures were not limited to the sea but were also able to exist in fresh water, including rivers and deltas. Secondly, it is not known if these eurypterids had a stinger like current scorpions do. Still, sting in the tail or not, swimming with this beast beneath you does not sound appealing.