Energy storage in arthropods has important implications for survival and reproduction. The lipid content of 276 species of adult arthropods with wet mass in the range 0.2–6.13 g is determined to assess how lipid mass scales with body mass. The relative contribution of lipids to total body mass is investigated with respect to phylogeny, ontogeny and sex. The lipid content of adult insects, arachnids, and arthropods in general shows an isometric scaling relationship with respect to body mass (M) (Marthropod lipid = −1.09 ×Mdry1.01 and Marthropod lipid = −1.00 ×Mlean0.98). However, lipid allocation varies between arthropod taxa, as well as with sex and developmental stage within arthropod taxa. Female insects and arachnids generally have higher lipid contents than males, and larval holometabolous insects and juvenile arachnids have higher lipid contents than adults.