Currently viewing the category: "Scorpions, Whipscorpions and Vinegaroons"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug battle?
Location: Toledo District, Belize
August 15, 2014 7:59 pm
Thanks so much for your speedy answer about the stinging caterpillar. I took this photo in the dark last night and don’t know what it is, but it looks like one is eating the other.
Signature: Tanya

Whipscorpion Cannibalism

Tailless Whipscorpion Cannibalism

Hi Tanya,
We don’t get so many submissions from Belize, but there are many similar species living in Costa Rica, a country that because of eco-tourism tends to have much documentation on the fauna of the country online and many folks sending their unknown creatures to us for identification.  Thus we have prior submissions of Tailless Whipscorpions from Costa Rica as well as other parts of the world, and we always advise folks to let them live as they lack venom and are harmless to humans.  They are effective nocturnal predators that will help to control the Cockroach populations.  That said, this is the first image we have of the predatory behavior of a Tailless Whipscorpion, and it is phenomenal that it also depicts cannibalism.

Thanks again, Daniel,  for a very speedy and useful response.  To assure you, we don’t kill many bugs (mosquitoes and other flies actually biting us are really about it).  We aren’t afraid of insects although we don’t know nearly as much as we’d like about them.  We remove scorpions with the help of long scissors used as tongs; just toss the scorpions outdoors and we all go along with our lives.
Got to say I’m pleased I inadvertently captured a scene you hadn’t observed with the tailless whipscorpions.  Glad I took the shot; I have a couple more if you’re interested.
Thanks again to you and your dedicated crew.  You’re a tremendous resource (and I admit a guilty pleasure reading the responses to the Nasty Reader Awards).
Yours in Belize,
Tanya

Hi Tanya,
We would love a few other views of this cannibalistic drama.  We actually get a bit of a thrill writing responses to our Nasty Readers and we are happy to hear you are enjoying them.

Hello, Daniel,
I could tell you enjoyed responding to your Nasty Readers, and it seems a number of your Non-Nasty Readers also enjoy weighing in.  Any chance some/all of you were English majors once upon a time?
I will send along the photos I took of the insect drama; there are only three.  If I can’t get them to attach here, I’ll send them separately.
Yours in Belize,
Tanya

Cannibalism among Whipscorpions

Cannibalism among Whipscorpions

Hi Tanya,
While we cannot speak for our readership and their educational backgrounds, Daniel only majored in Art with concentrations in photography and cinema, however he loves to turn a good word and thoroughly enjoys the playfulness of the English language.  We did receive your additional images, and we are thankful, however they are not too different from the original image.  We had hoped for more of a progression in the action.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: In my garage!
Location: Simi Valley california
August 3, 2014 1:38 pm
My husband just found this DEAD scorpion in our garage! We live in Simi Valley and back up to a hill but want to make sure this thing isn’t poisonous!
What type of scorpion is this and is it poisonous for my family or animals?
Signature: Scared homeowner!

Scorpion

Scorpion

Dear Scared homeowner,
As you have noted, this is a Scorpion, and all Scorpions have venomous stings, but very few are truly dangerous.  It is our understanding that the Scorpions with the larger pinchers and thinner tails generally have the weaker and less toxic venom.  This appears to be a Stripe-Tailed Scorpion,
Paruroctonus silvestrii, and according to Insect of the Los Angeles Basin by Charles Hogue:  The body and claws of this scorpion are slender, and it is medium sized (adults are up to 1 3/4 in., or 45mm, long).  … The species stings readily but without doing lasting harm.”  Of local Scorpions in general, Hogue writes:  “The stings of our scorpions usually cause only a local reaction similar to that of a bee sting, consisting of pain and burning sensation, with swelling that lasts from a few minutes to over an hour.  First-aid treatment involves immersing the affected area in ice water or applying an ice pack.  If symptoms persist, a physician should be consulted.”  This BugGuide posting, where it is called the California Common Scorpion, provides some anecdotal information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Black Bug
Location: Lonboat Key, Florida
May 17, 2014 6:13 pm
Do you know what this is? I found on my doorstep in Longboat Key, Florida. My neighbor said she found one in the past at a home on Anna Maria Island, Florida.
Thank you
Signature: R. Banach

Vinegaroon

Giant Vinegaroon

Dear R. Banach,
This is a Giant Vinegaroon or Tailed Whipscorpion.  Though they are distantly related to Scorpions, Vinegaroons do not have any venom, so they are not considered harmful to humans.  That said, a large specimen has strong mandibles that might allow a Vinegaroon to bite a person, but that can be avoided by careful handling of the Arachnid.  The common name Vinegaroon originates with the Tailed Whipscorpion’s ability to discharge a weak concentration of acetic acid which smells like vinegar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug in China
Location: Wuhan, Hubei, China
April 27, 2014 3:36 pm
During our visits with family in Wuhan China, we came across this interesting bug. We’ve tried to figure out what it is, but have had little luck identifying it. We saw it in April in Wuhan China, on some stairs, with foliage near by. We almost stepped on it, and it reared up with it’s pincers.
Just curious what it is, everyone in China just told us to stay a way, it’s not a good bug.
Please enlighten us if possible.
Signature: Kathryn

Whipscorpion

Whipscorpion

Dear Kathryn,
You have had an encounter with a Whipscorpion in the Arachnid order Uropygi, and while we hesitate to say it is perfectly harmless, you really don’t have too much to fear as they are generally shy, nocturnal hunters.  Unlike true Scorpions with venomous stings, Whipscorpions lack venom, however, they do have a rather unique means of defense.  According to an online article we found on SpringerLink, several genera from North America and East Asia:  “are known to use acetic acid and caprylic acid as a defense mechanism.”  This weak acetic acid, a component in vinegar, has led to the common name of Vinegaroon in North America.  Whipscorpions also have powerful mandibles, and they might bite if carelessly handled.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mexican spider??
Location: Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexico
March 23, 2014 9:07 pm
This spider? Was in our hotel room, twice!, during a recent trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. What kind of spider is it? Does it bite? If so, is it poisonous? Thanks for your help!
Signature: Freaked out traveller!

Tailless Whipscorpion

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Freaked out traveller,
We know that traveling is a very traumatic experience fraught with the unknown, but you needn’t fear this Tailless Whipscorpion.  It doesn’t have venom and it is unlikely that it would bite a human unless it was carelessly handled.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that are often tolerated in Mexico, where they are known by the name Cancle, because they feed on Cockroaches and Bed Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Baby Scorpion
Location: Bunbury, Western Australia
March 1, 2014 6:41 pm
Dear Bugman,
We have just moved into an old house surrounded by bush in Bunbury, Western Australia. On the day of the move, our things arrived from UK, after spending 3 months in ships.
I found what looked like an ‘ant’ on our white carpets, just where our little boy was playing. When I looked closer, I saw that it had ‘claws’. It was startled and buried itself, head first in the fibres of the carpet, raising it’s ‘sting’ in a threatening way. It was too tiny to appear threatening though. I called my husband to look and he held it with a pair of tweezers. He threw it out without killing it but he thinks he might have hurt its tail.
I managed to get a picture of it. It is about 1 cms in length.
I am curious as to if this is a scorpion and if it is indigenous to Western Australia. Please shed some light. Thanks in advance.
Su,
Western Australia
Signature: Su

Scorpion

Scorpion

Hi Su,
Yes, this is a Scorpion, but beyond that, we cannot say much for certain.  You can find information on Australian Scorpions on The Museum Victoria website which states:  “The Australian species can inflict a painful sting that results in swelling and pain for several hours, and there have not been any confirmed deaths of people from stings from Australian scorpions. Medical advice should be sought if you are stung by a scorpion.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination