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Tailless Whipscorpion (Phyrnus spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Tailless Whipscorpion

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Image Credit: Wendy in Mexico
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Creepy looking Tailless Whipscorpions are not spiders, nor scorpions, and are in a family all their own.

Updated: 08/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Tailless Whipscorpions look like a mix of different arachnids, but they are unique. Long, skinny legs suggest the Whipscorpion is a type of spider, but it is not. Its first pair of legs end in antennae and they are whipped around and in front of the Tailless Whipscorpion as it moves, feeling for nearby prey. The large, menacing pedipalps that look like claws are reminiscent of a scorpion, but this creature has no tail nor stinger. The pedipalps are used to capture and crush prey as well as to aid in grooming. Though they have fangs, they cannot eat solids so they tear their prey into small pieces, sucking the fluids off of them.

Females carry their eggs for a short period of time under their belly. Once the eggs hatch, the young Tailless Whipscorpions ride on the mother's back for almost a week before venturing off on their own. Usually hidden all day in dark areas, adults emerge at dusk to begin hunting. If you expose one by lifting the stone it is hiding under, it will run sideways, like a crab, to escape and seek shelter elsewhere.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chelicerata
      Order: Amblypygi
        Family: Phrynidae
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          Genus: Phyrnus
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Phyrnus spp.
Other Name(s): Tailless Whip Spider
Category: Tailless Whipscorpion
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 17mm (0.39" to 0.66")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black
Descriptors: claws, pinchers, pincers,

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 17mm (0.7in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 13.5mm
Hi: 17mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Tailless Whipscorpion may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Tailless Whipscorpion. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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