What is this insect?
Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 4:04 PM
We had just put some towels that were drying into our beach bag, when we noticed a long black thread-like thing inside the bag. Upon further review we saw some sort of insect, with long black legs, a brown body like a HUGE grasshopper or beetle, with pincers like a crab. We convinced it to leave the bag, but it was not aggressive in any way. it scared the hell out of my wife who now wonders if there are more, is it dangerous, did it lay eggs???
Jerry & Nora
Zihautenejo, Mexico

Tailless Whipscorpion

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Jerry and Nora,
This is a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion, and it is an Arachnid, not an insect.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal predators, any your specimen was likely just hiding from the sun and heat inside your bag.  In Mexico, there are many superstitions about the Tailless Whipscorpion,  but the rumors that it is dangerous and venomous are not true.  We have had one reader report that the Tailless Whipscorpion is known locally in Mexico as a Cancle, but we cannot verify that in our web research.  We doubt that it laid eggs.

2 Responses to Cancle or Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

  1. maggiet19 says:

    I live on the coast in Mexico…actually the area is jungle. The locals had told me about the cancle…they call it the mother of scopians and say that it is highly dangerous. I had a rather large one in my bathroom and fearing for my dog who goes after everything, I sprayed it. I put it in a zip lock and brought it to my vet who is also a zoologist. He told me what it was and brought out a book with numerous photos…also told me that the locals are wrong about it. This was several weeks ago. Today lunching with some Mexicans we were talking about bugs and they mentioned the dangerous cancle. I didn’t remember the name of the bug I had before so this time I wrote the name down and looked it up at your website. Sure enough it was the same bug.
    I live in an environment where bugs are common place, but am not happy when they are scorpions, alacrans or 8 inch long centipedes; they have their life ended. The beautiful brown and rust tarantula on my terrace this morning was scooted off before my dog saw it and ended his life.
    I’ve had pet praying mantis living in a vase of flowers for weeks. I feed it bugs with a tweezer and mist them periodically.

  2. Eric says:

    The first time I saw a tailless whip scorpion was in a beach house in Puerto Vallarta when I was 12. It was above my pillow and it scared the crap out of me! After I described it to the owners of the house, or series of cabanas really, and they told me about the legend of the dangerous cancle. Stating that it’s venom will make you pass out for about 12 hours but after that you will be ok. Needless to say I had a hard time falling asleep that night! It’s nice to know I was never in real danger, but sleeping in the jungle came with its adventures!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.