Subject: Indentification please?
Geographic location of the bug: South of of Alamogordo, NM
Time: 09:16 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Not sure this is an insect. The front appendages do seem to be pincers. The overall length including the “tail” is over 8″! Seen July 17, 2018.
How you want your letter signed: Dave and Teri
Dear Dave and Teri,
This is a Whipscorpion, Mastigoproctus giganteus, commonly called a Giant Vinegaroon or Grampus. Though related to Scorpions, they are not considered dangerous as they lack venom, but they can secrete a weak acetic acid that smells like vinegar. Giant Vinegaroons are shy, nocturnal predators with powerful mandibles, so they are capable of biting. At the risk of being repetitive, 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.”