What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

hurry and look please
Location:  Southwest Central NM
September 30, 2010 11:54 pm
Seriously this thing freaks me out and its in my garage
Signature:  adam

Giant Vinegaroon

Hi Adam,
Despite its fearsome appearance, the Giant Vinegaroon,
Mastigoproctus giganteus, is perfectly harmless.  Also known as a Whipscorpion, it is a shy, nocturnal predator that has no venom, unlike its distant relatives the true Scorpions.  Like many creatures, it might bite if carelessly handled, but we must stress that it does not have venom.  This is what BugGuide indicates:  “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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

4 Responses to Giant Vinegaroon

  1. Dennis Feeney , PhD says:

    In the mid 70s I saw a very scarily critter, about 8-10 inches long, slowly walking walking down the hallway of my home. Thinking it was a scorpion I picked the largest book I could find and crushed the bug. Immediately the smell of viniger filled the room. A neighbor said it was a vinagaoon. Today,, about 40 years later, another appeared. A friend , Sue Bacca, found a dead bug she didn’t recognize. When she showed it to me clearly it was a vinagaoon but only 2-3 inches long. They must live here in the high desert of New Mexico. So they are not confined to tropical or subtropical climates. A harmless highly adaptable animal.

  2. Rita Erickson says:

    I am so grateful to know more about this insect. My husband and I first came across a 9″ long one while on a late night walk on Indian School Rd. around 11PM about 400 yards from the open space in the Sandia Mts. About a year ago my daughter and I found a smaller one, about two inches long. We took pictures. Than we scooped it up into a jar and released where the other was sited.

    This week while tile installers were moving my washer and dryer, they found another one about 6″ long. They thought it was a scorpion. Thanks so much for the real scoop on this Giant Bug. We now understand why our chihuahua no longer seeks refuge in the laundry room. She’d rather sit in the rain outside than share a room with a bug six inches long with large pinchers.

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