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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).




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chelicerata
      Order: Uropygi
        Family: Vinegarones
          Genus: Mastigoproctus
            Species: giganteus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Mastigoproctus giganteus
Other Name(s): Vinegaroon, Grampus, Mule Killer
Category: Whipscorpion
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 80mm (0.78in to 3.12in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, brown
Descriptors: tail, whip, scorpion-like, claws, pincers, harmful, smelly, vinegar, acid
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.