August 11, 2009
I found this bug crawling on my porch. It was so disgusting looking that I had to smash it. After I took the photo, I grabbed a can of poison and drenched it then I threw its mangled body in a raging ant colony I disturbed.
Can you please identify it?
northeast us

Giant Vinegaroon

Giant Vinegaroon

Dear buglover101,
The facetiousness of your signature is anything but amusing to us.
This is a Whipscorpion or Giant Vinegaroon, Mastigoproctus giganteus.  According to BugGuide:  “The vinegaroon is nocturnal and has poor vision. The whiplike tail is used as a sensory organ, as is the first pair of legs, which is not used for walking. Although its tail in unable to sting, this creature can spray an acidic mist from a scent gland at the base of the tail when disturbed. The spray is 85% concentrated acetic acid/vinegar, hence the common name ‘Vinegaroon.’ The heavy pinching mouthparts (modified pedipalps) can also inflict a painful bite. Although very unlikely to attack humans, it can certainly defend itself if provoked.” Sadly, this poor individual didn’t stand a chance against the arsenal you threw at it.  In our opinion, this is a textbook example of what we consider to be Unnecessary Carnage.  We are puzzled by the stated location in your email as the Giant Vinegaroon is a southern Arachnid.

A Reader Comments
Vinegaroon, and my big spider
August 14, 2009
I suspect that “buglover101” was messing with you, with the description of torturing the vinegaroon and throwing it to enraged ants. Especially since you noted that the vinegaroon is a southern arachnid. Anyway, any chance you could help with the big striped spider I sent you last Sunday? I think the pictures are great (you can really see her brown eyes) but I can’t identify her. Thank you for the wonderful website, even if you don’t get to my spider!

Hi Jessica,
The thought had crossed our mind that buglover101 was yanking our chain since this does seem to be a bit of an overreaction, but the photo is still a smashed Giant Vinegaroon.  The smashing alone would warrant Unnecessary Carnage and the postmortem corpse defiling is truly over the top.  It reminds us of the defiling of Hector’s corpse in the Iliad, an act perpetrated to raise the hackles of the Trojans.  Perhaps we are just too gullible, but we tend to believe what people write to us.
Since your letter brought up a relevant point that we wanted to post, we went through hundreds of recent emails to track your name and located your previous unread query.  The spider is a Wolf Spider.

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4 Responses to Giant Vinegaroon: Smashed, Poisoned and Fed to Ants

  1. ladyjam2 says:

    I found a vinegaroon in my back yard. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is about three inches long . Ugly ……My friend also found one in Albuquerque about 8″ long. Should they be this far north???

  2. The giant cookie says:

    I actually searched this on google, and I found a picture in some foreign language posted months before this, exactly the same.

  3. Chas. White says:

    I moved to southwestern NM a year ago, still enraptured by the diverse fauna/flora that I am discovering. Recently, late at night I glance down from my computer at what appeared to be a slow moving shadow on the tile floor. When I realized it was not a shadow, rather a black insect approx 6″x3″ slowly advancing on my left foot. I sprung up illuminated a desk light and scooped the visitor in a piece of mail. Escorted the bug to the back patio and released it into the NM night.
    Doing my research, and finding WTB site, I have discovered the visitor to be a rather large (harmless, but scary) vinegaroon.
    He will go on to my listing of other visitors including a brown recluse spider, preying mantis, 4″ centipede and myriads of various beetles, roaches and flies.
    Who said the desert is dead?!

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