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?
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!
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.