Giant Whipscorpion (Mastigoproctus giganteus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Giant Whipscorpion.
Updated: 12/4/2013; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 cord-like tail instead of a stinger. It lacks a stinger and uses its whip-like tail to alert potential predators it is about to defend itself. This is a major physical differentiation that makes it easy to distinguish a Whipscorpion from scorpions.
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.
If all else fails, a Giant Whipscorpion will use its huge pedipalps ('claws') to pinch would-be attackers. It is known to can a good deal of pain to human victims. These pincer-like pedipalps are also used to rip and tear apart prey, enabling the Giant Whipscorpion to consume its body fluids.
They are difficult to find because they are mostly nocturnal. During the day, they hide under logs, stone 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.
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 eggs externally until they hatch. Once out of their eggs, the young whipscorpions rest on their mother's back while they molt (shed skin to grow and become harder).