The Giant Whipscorpion is not poisonous, but its arsenal of offensive and defensive weapons make it a creature best looked at and not touched.
The Giant Whipscorpion looks somewhat like a typical scorpion, but with a narrow cord-like tail instead of thick curled segments. This major anatomical differentiation makes it easy to quickly distinguish a Whipscorpion from true scorpions. The Whipscorpion lacks a stinger, but swings its whip-like tail in an effort to communicate that it is about to defend itself.
Though it does not produce poison, it can secrete a stinky chemical made of acetic acid, the same chemical that comprises vinegar, from the base of the tail. This vinegar secretion can cause mild burns to insect predators (or prey) as well as skin irritation and nausea to humans. For this reason, this type of Whipscorpion is also called a Vinegaroon, and best not handled.
If these early warnings fail to convince a predator to move on, a Giant Whipscorpion will use its huge pedipalps ('claws') to pinch a would-be attacker. They can cause a good deal of pain when used on human victims, too. These strong, pincer-like pedipalps are also used to rip and tear apart prey, enabling the Giant Whipscorpion to easily consume body fluids. Males have longer claw segments than females. In addition, males have a chela, a small projection at the tip of each claw. Males use the chela to push a sperm packet into the female during mating. The female will carry her fertilized eggs externally until they hatch. Once out of their eggs, the young whipscorpions rest on their mother's back while they molt and develop.
Whipscorpions are difficult to find because they are mostly nocturnal. During the day, they hide under logs, stones or other debris, or they burrow into loose soil or sand. During summer months in wooded areas, they are more active and may be seen in daylight.
Scientific Name: Mastigoproctus giganteus
Other Name(s): Vinegaroon, Grampus, Mule Killer
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 80mm (0.78in to 3.12in)
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