Trinidadian night critters …
December 3, 2009
I would like some help identifying ,more specifically ,some of the fascinating creatures that the excellent guides at Asa Wright, Trinidad, showed me last week during a couple of night hikes. The guides went as far as to tell me that these were 1) a scorpion, 2) a whip scorpion, and 3) a harvestman. I’d love to learn a little more about these formidable looking beasts.
Asa Wright, Trinidad
Thanks for sending us your wonderful images of nocturnal Arachnids from Trinidad. All three of your creatures are in the same Arthropod class, Arachnida, which includes spiders. The Scorpion might be Centruroides limbatus based on images we found on the Scorpions of Central America and the Caribbean website. Generally, Scorpions with smaller claws and proportionally larger tails have more lethal venom, and this is the case with the genus Centruroides. Wikipedia also has a page on this species which is identified as one of the Bark Scorpions. According to Wikipedia, the venom is not considered dangerous to humans, though the sting is painful. The overall light coloration and dark markings on the tail and claws or pedipalps help to identify the species.
Tailless Whipscorpions are also nocturnal predators, but they lack venom and are perfectly harmless despite a fierce appearance. They feed on insects and other arthropods and they move rapidly by scuttling sideways. You can read more about Tailless Whipscorpions in the order Amblypygi on BugGuide.
The Harvestmen in the order Opiliones are also without venom, and they are scavengers rather than predators, feeding upon dead insects and arthropods. Harvestmen are also called Daddy Long Legs. You may also read more about Harvestmen on BugGuide. Sadly, we do not have the necessary skills to identify the Tailless Whipscorpion or the Harvestman beyond the level of order.