Currently viewing the category: "Scorpions, Whipscorpions and Vinegaroons"
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What’s this bug!
Hi I live in New Mexico, and while remodeling an old building my grandfather found two weird big bugs. He decided to hand them over to me, I’ve had them for over a year and I am still curious in finding out what they are. Here are some pictures, I hope you can help me out. To describe them more, they are about the size of standard size tweezers and are dark brown in color, they have claws much like a scorpion but a tail like a cocroach, long and slender. Please help me out.

Hi Nat,
Your critters are Giant Vinegarones, also known as Grampus, Mastigoproctus giganteus. They are Whip Scorpions in the Family Thelyphonidae. They are found in the South and Southwest and are rarely seen since they hide during the day. Despite their fearsome appearance, they are harmless.

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Hello – Please find the attached photo of a spider (?) that we found in our bungalow sink on the tropical coast of Oaxaca, Mexico in October. This spider’s body was .5 – 1 inch wide. What are the long antennae-like structures? Do they bite? Thanks so much,
Will Bellomy

Hi Will,
Thanks for sending in a photo of a Tailless Whip-Scorpion from the Family Tarantulidae, Order Pedipalpida or sometimes Order Amblypygi. Arachnid relatives of spiders and scorpions. Several species are also found in the continental U.S. They are not poisonous, and despite their fierce appearance, they will not bite. They are nocturnal hunters that often run sideways. They prey on small arthropods.

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Scorpion and Hummingbird clearwing moth
Hello, Mr. Bugman
Thanks so much for your informative site. It is the best I have found for straight information.
I came for the ID of a scorpion that had stung me in my home (by the way, its sting was painful at first, but the swelling and itching got worse for about a week and then got better for about another week). Here it is.

Anyway, while I was looking through the letters and photos here, I saw the photos from Dorothy in Alaska of a clearwing moth. I saw the exact same thing (two of them) feeding on my backyard flowers this Spring, in east-central Alabama. Dorothy’s photos came out clearer than mine did, but that was the bug, all right. As I recall, the clearwings I saw had huge, paddle-like rear feet that hung down as they flew. This was only my second time to see this type of insect; are they uncommon in the South?
Thanks again for your cool site.
Pell City, AL

Hi Joe,
I can’t be positive about the scorpion, but here is a shot. I would venture on Vaejovis carolinianus The Southern Unstriped Scorpions. The sting is reported to be like a pin prick. They are native to the Southeastern United States including Alabama.

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Hi Bugman-
In 1980, I lived in Sausalito, California. One night as I watched theevening news a fairly large creature crawled across my kitchen floor. It was dark, jointed, I believe it had what appeared to be pinchers, and I swear it hissed at me when I swept it out onto the deck. The Giant Vinegaroon looks very much like what I remember. My question is are they found in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Phil Nast

Dear Phil,
24 years is a long time to wait for an answer. The Vinegaroon or Giant Whip Scorpion, Mastigoproctus giganteus, is listed as ranging in the South and SouthWest. I would say it is entirely possible that one could have been in Sausalito, especially since they are often kept as pets and pets escape. This is one of the ways that natural ranges are extended to include new locations with hospitable climates. I have gotten reports of tarantulas and scorpions hissing, and it is possible that the Vinegaroon can also stridulate, defined as the rubbing together of body parts which produces a hissing type sound. Hope that answers your questions.

Thanks for the answer. I have searched insect books over those 24 years without much luck. I saw many tarantulas in Southern California, but the scorpions I saw were all small. I remember this being 3-4 inches, of course time and my horror might have added to its length.

Hi Phil,
Our sources state that the Giant Vinegaroon can reach five inches in length, so yours was a small one.

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We have seen this big nasty bug around and IN our house. It is about 3-4 inches long, not including the stinger (have also seen one that was maybe 1.5 inches). It looks similar to the stag bug that "Freaked Out in Mass" asked about last week…has the same pinchers in the front and the same body type, but the ones here are a lot bigger, black, have a bigger butt and a long needle-type stinger out the back thats about 2-3 inches long. They put off some really nasty smelling stuff when threatened (and when squashed of course) and someone around here told my husband they are a vinegar-something-or-another bug and not poisonous. We are in west Texas. I think it is probably some type of beetle (makes a very loud crunch when you squash it). Most of the ones I have seen have not looked aggressive, except for the little one we saw…it had its stinger up and was running towards my 2 year old daughter outside. They look horrible and freak me out!!! I have found 3 in my house and I have 3 small children. What is this thing, how harmful is it, and how do I keep it out of my house?! Thank you Bugman!!!
Big Nasty Bug Hater

Dear Big Bug Hater,
Might be a whip scorpion, not a true scorpion and actually quite harmless. They are also called vinegaroons.

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We live in the hills in Los Angeles, and were recently visited by – what we discovered on your site to be – wind scorpions or sun spiders. However, last week we discovered a NEW and more FRIGHTEINING scorpion in a bedroom, and yet another today on our back patio. Would this be a WIND scorpion? It has a tail with a little stinger on it, as well as little claws on its front legs. It’s really creepy looking. Also, is it poisonous and does its sting contain venom? Or would it just simply "sting." I’ve attached a photo for your viewing pleasure! Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciate. Thanks!

It appears to be a Striped Tailed Scorpion, Paruroctonus silvestrii, which has venom like all scorpions, and will sting readily, but will do no lasting harm. There are four conspicuous dark brown lines on the underside of the tail, which is unfortunately not visible in your photo.

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