Where Do Tailless Whip Scorpions Live: Exploring Their Natural Habitat

Tailless whip scorpions are fascinating creatures that have captured the interest of many nature enthusiasts. These arachnids, known scientifically as Amblypygi, possess a unique appearance due to their flat bodies, long whip-like legs, and spiny, powerful pedipalps. They can often be found living in a variety of habitats, ranging from tropical rainforests to dry deserts.

In the United States, the Florida whip scorpion can be found in deep, well-drained sandy soils, such as long-leaf pine sandhills and sand pine scrub. These arachnids are also known to inhabit burrows or simply hide under logs and boards on the ground. In other parts of the world, like the El Yunque National Forest, tailless whip scorpions can be found in sizes ranging from 19 to 25 inches.

As you explore their habitats, remember to tread carefully and be respectful of their environment. These fascinating creatures can provide insight into the diversity and adaptability of life on Earth, and protecting their habitats is crucial to preserving their populations for future generations to appreciate.

Basic Description of Tailless Whip Scorpions

Tailless whip scorpions, also called amblypygids, are a fascinating type of arachnid, belonging to the order Amblypygi. They might appear intimidating, but these creatures are harmless to humans and important for the ecosystem. Amblypygids can be found in various parts of the world, such as the El Yunque National Forest, where they can reach 19 to 25 inches in size.

These flat-bodied arachnids have a unique appearance. You’ll notice they have ten legs, but only use eight for walking. Their first legs are long, thin, and function as sensory organs. These whip-like legs, also known as antenniform legs, help the tailless whip scorpion navigate its environment and locate prey.

In terms of color, tailless whip scorpions can range from a dark brown to a reddish hue, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings. In the United States, the only whip scorpion species found is the Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus, which resides in states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas.

Tailless whip scorpions share some similarities with other arachnids like spiders and scorpions. All three belong to the class Arachnida, have eight legs, and chelicerae. However, unlike their close relatives, tailless whip scorpions lack venom, stingers, or silk-producing organs. They rely on their powerful, spiny pedipalps, or pincer-bearing front arms, to catch and subdue their prey.

To summarize, tailless whip scorpions are unique members of the arachnid class that have a distinct appearance, serve important ecological roles, and pose no harm to humans. They are a testament to the incredible diversity found in the world of arachnids.

Habitat and Distribution

Tailless whip scorpions, also known as Amblypygi, can be found in various habitats around the world. They thrive in both tropical and subtropical regions. Some examples of their habitats include:

  • Tropical forests: These creatures commonly inhabit dense, damp forests in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.
  • Caves: They often reside in caves, where the environment is dark and humid, as they prefer to avoid direct sunlight.
  • Houses: It’s not unusual for tailless whip scorpions to take shelter in human dwellings in search of food or a suitable place to breed.

When it comes to finding a place to rest, these arachnids prefer to make their own hideouts by creating burrows under rocks, logs, or other debris.

Tailless whip scorpions reside in a variety of climatic zones but have a preference for warm temperatures. They can survive in both dry and wet regions, which is why they are found in various places such as deserts, swamps, and even subtropical regions in the southern parts of the United States, like Arizona.

Remember to always be cautious and respectful of their habitat when exploring or encountering these unique and intriguing creatures. Happy adventuring!

Sensory and Physical Characteristics

Tailless whip scorpions are unique creatures with some fascinating sensory and physical attributes. Let’s delve into some of these features.

Legs: These creatures have ten legs where their first legs are long, thin, and whip-like. These whip-like legs also act as sensory organs. Their other legs help them move efficiently.

Pedipalps: Their pedipalps, or pincer-bearing front arms, are spiny and powerful, adapted for sensory and predatory purposes.

Eyes: Tailless whip scorpions possess a pair of main eyes and additional lateral eyes, which aid them in their nocturnal activities.

No tail: Unlike other scorpions, they lack a long tail and stinger. Their unique appearance includes a flattened body, giving them a distinct look.

Venom glands and pincers: Interestingly, they do not have venom glands or venomous fangs. Their pincers are used for grasping prey rather than delivering venom.

Silk glands and molting: While they don’t have silk glands like spiders, they undergo molting throughout their life, shedding their exoskeleton to grow.

Chelicerate: Tailless whip scorpions belong to the Chelicerata group, which includes spiders, scorpions, and ticks.

As you can see, tailless whip scorpions have a variety of intriguing sensory and physical characteristics that set them apart from other arachnids. These nocturnal animals possess both fascinating and harmless attributes, making them a captivating subject to study.

Diet and Predation

Tailless whip scorpions are predators that mainly feed on various small prey. They primarily hunt at night, when most of their prey is active.

Some prey items that tailless whip scorpions may consume include:

  • Insects such as crickets and flies
  • Spiders
  • Worms
  • Smaller crustaceans, like pillbugs
  • Occasionally small reptiles like lizards

Foraging techniques and predation: Tailless whip scorpions use their long, whip-like front legs for sensing their surroundings, allowing them to locate their prey. Once they detect a potential meal, they quickly capture it using their powerful, spiny pedipalps.

Ecological role: By preying on various insects and other small animals, tailless whip scorpions play a crucial role in controlling the populations of these creatures. This keeps the ecosystems they inhabit balanced and healthy.

Now that you have some insight into the diet and predation habits of tailless whip scorpions, it’s time to explore more about their fascinating lives. Be aware of their importance in the environment and marvel at the efficient hunting techniques these unique creatures employ.

Breeding and Lifespan

In the realm of tailless whip scorpions, the mating process is fascinating. When it’s time to mate, these creatures engage in a complex ritual that can last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. During this time, the male secretes and transfers a sperm sac, called a spermatophore, into the female.

The good news is, tailless whip scorpions are harmless to humans. So, you don’t need to worry about being bitten or stung during an encounter with one. These arachnids are shy and prefer to avoid contact with humans.

After mating, the female lays her eggs and carries them in an egg sac under her abdomen. As the eggs develop, her babies—known as juveniles—will hatch and remain attached to her body for a short time.

Remarkably, tailless whip scorpions exhibit a fairly lengthy lifespan. They grow slowly throughout their lives, molting about three times within the first three years. As adults, they can live for up to an additional four years, giving them a total lifespan of around seven years.

While these mysterious creatures can be found living in various locations, certain factors influence their population size. Environmental conditions, food availability, and geographical distribution all play a role in determining the size and density of a tailless whip scorpion population.

In summary, tailless whip scorpions are fascinating arachnids with a complex mating process and a surprisingly long lifespan. Their gentle nature makes them harmless to humans, and they can be found in various environments around the globe.

Behavior and Ecology

Tailless whip scorpions are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active during the night. At this time, they venture out and hunt for prey. You can find them preying on various vertebrates such as small reptiles and frogs. Interestingly, their quick speed allows them to even catch bats. However, despite being efficient predators, they are quite timid and reclusive in nature.

During the daytime, these arachnids hide under rocks, logs, or leaves to avoid being detected. They are territorial creatures, establishing and maintaining their specific territory with specific behavior patterns. For example, they can mark the boundaries of their territory with the help of chemical cues.

Some notable features of tailless whip scorpions include:

  • Nocturnal lifestyle
  • Predatory behavior
  • Timid and reclusive nature
  • Territorial instincts

In conclusion, understanding the behavior and ecology of tailless whip scorpions can help you better appreciate these fascinating creatures and their role in the ecosystem.

Tailless Whip Scorpions and Humans

Tailless whip scorpions, also known as vinegaroons, belong to the order Thelyphonida within the class Arachnida. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are quite harmless to humans. Here are some points about how they interact with humans:

  • They are not venomous and don’t possess any harmful venom glands.
  • The name “vinegaroon” comes from their ability to spray a vinegar-like substance when threatened.
  • They might be kept as exotic pets by some enthusiasts.

Keeping a tailless whip scorpion as a pet can have its pros and cons:

Pros:

  • They are low-maintenance and don’t require frequent feeding.
  • They can live for several years, up to seven years in some cases.

Cons:

  • They are nocturnal and might not be very active during daytime.
  • Their long, thin legs can be fragile, making handling difficult.

In conclusion, tailless whip scorpions are fascinating arachnids with a unique appearance. While they might look scary, they are actually harmless to humans and can even be kept as pets. Nonetheless, it’s essential to learn about their specific needs and characteristics before considering them as pets.

Unique Species of Tailless Whip Scorpions

The world of tailless whip scorpions is as diverse as it is fascinating. As you delve deeper into the topic, you’ll come across various intriguing species. Let’s briefly explore some of them:

Damon diadema is a captivating species characterized by its striking appearance and large size. This curious creature is a popular pet among enthusiasts due to its gentle nature and fascinating behavior. Find out more about this species here.

The Charontidae family hails from the euamblypygi order. These tailless wonders are largely found in tropical and subtropical regions across the globe. Their habitat ranges from caves to leaf litter, showcasing their adaptability.

Phrynidae is another family within the euamblypygi order. Known for their impressive leg span, these whip scorpions exhibit nimble predation tactics, making them formidable hunters. They inhabit tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Moving on to Damon variegatus, a close relative of Damon diadema. It shares many similarities with its counterpart but stands out due to its variegated appearance. Here’s a comparison of key characteristics:

Feature Damon diadema Damon variegatus
Size Large Medium
Appearance Striking Variegated
Behavior Gentle Gentle
Care Level Moderate Moderate

As for Paleoamblypygi, this now-extinct order serves as a glimpse into the past, with fossils providing insights into the ancestry of whip scorpions. The Graephonus, a genus within the order, is a remarkable example.

Lastly, we have the Charinidae and Phrynichidae families, known for their unique features and preference for tropical habitats. The Phrynichida suborder encompasses multiple families, including both Charinidae and Phrynichidae, highlighting the richness in variation found among tailless whip scorpions.

So there you have it – a glimpse into the diverse and unique species of tailless whip scorpions. Explore further, and you’ll undoubtedly discover more fascinating examples of these incredible arachnids.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Subject: Harvestman?
Location: Glenmore, KZN
September 20, 2015 8:29 am
Good Day,
My parents found this bug in their garden shed in Glenmore, KZN. Does anybody know what bug this is?
Signature: Nielen

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Nielen,
This Tailless Whipscorpion in the Arachnid Order Amblypygi is a shy, nocturnal hunter that poses to threat to humans as Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom.  They do have strong mandibles and might bite if carelessly handled, but they are more likely to scuttle away to avoid a confrontation.  Allowing it to live in the garden shed will help to reduce the numbers of roaches, spiders and other creatures that might pose a bigger threat to humans.

Letter 2 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject: Tailless Whipscorpion
Location: Mexican border with Guatemala
February 8, 2015 11:08 am
I took this picture on 1/29/2015, identified by the guide as a whip scorpion. But I think it might actually be a tailless whipscorpion, as it has no tail. The picture was taken with a flash inside a Maya ruin at Yaxchilan. I think that the flash has caused shadows so that the legs look “double”. Yaxchilan is on the Mexican side of the Usumacinta River – the border to Guatemala.
From another of your articles, it appears that this creature is from the order Amblypygi , but I was wondering if the species can be identified. “BUG GUIDE” is only for US & Canada, and this creature is Mexican/ Central American.
Signature: Thanks, Bob Williamson

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear  This Bob,
We don’t generally attempt to identify Tailless Whipscorpions beyond the order, but perhaps one of our readers will write in with more information.
  We did locate a pdf entitled LOS AMBLIPÍGIDOS O TENDARAPOS DE MÉXICO (ARACHNIDA: AMBLYPYGI) by Luis F. de Armas that contains the following information:  “The whip spiders or tailless whipscorpions of Mexico (Arachnida: Amblypygi)  Abstract: The Mexican fauna of whip spiders or tailless whipscorpions contains 20 species belonging to the genera Acantho- phrynus Kraepelin, 1899 (one species), Paraphrynus Moreno, 1940 (11 species) and Phrynus Lamarck, 1801 (8 species) (Phrynidae: Phryninae). Only five (25%) of these species are not Mexican endemics, whereas six Paraphrynus species are troglobites. Paraphrynus and Phrynus have 82% and 50% of endemic species, respectively. The highest specific richness and endemism are concentrated in the southeastern states (Chiapas, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo).”

Hey Daniel:
Thanks for the quick response.  As I look closer at my photo, I can see some banding on the legs, which I previously missed.  I know that the Amblypygi name ending in “Mexico” (which of course I cannot relocate on the web now that I want to again) did not look like this one, mainly because of the light brown and banded legs.  Maybe the flash is hiding that a little.
This was the first time I have seen one and because of the size, it is certainly scary looking.  I was surprised to find out it can neither bite nor sting humans.
Thanks for your help.
Later, This Bob.

Hi again This Bob,
Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom and they do not have stingers, so they pose no threat to humans.  We thought we once read that a large specimen might bite, but according to BugGuide:  “No venom glands, and do not sting or bite. If disturbed, they scuttle sideways.”

 

 

Letter 3 – Whipscorpion from Dominican Republic

 

Subject:  Found it lingering outside room
Geographic location of the bug:  Samana island, Dominican republic
Date: 11/11/2017
Time: 02:03 PM EDT
Just wondering what this bug is, it seemed rather slow moving when I saw it
How you want your letter signed:  Devin

Whipscorpion

Dear Devin,
This is a Whipscorpion or Vinegaroon, a non-venomous, distant relative of Scorpions.  Whipscorpions are not considered dangerous to humans, but they do have strong mandibles, so they might bite if carelessly handled.  They are shy nocturnal predators that will help keep populations of Cockroaches under control.  Arachnoboards lists
Mastigoproctus proscorpio as a Dominican species.

 

Letter 4 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Nicaragua

 

First glance: Scorpion spider death machine
Location: southwest Nicaragua, Granada-ish
March 1, 2012 10:34 pm
Hellooo, I have been seeing a lot of this bug in my location in Nicaragua. they seem to like cooler dark spaces, often up in the corners of eves, but most often lurking approximately 6-10 inches from that extremely important object you are reaching for. this one is approximately five inches wide including it’s legs but I have seen one that was at least seven inches with the longest part of it’s legs stretched. At first glance I thought it was a spider, then after seeing a couple more i realized it didn’t have the required amount of legs…my question is…what kind of damage is this sucka going to do when it releases it’s grip from under the top bunk and lands on my face?!
Signature: yazzyenna

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear yazzyenne,
We found your letter terribly amusing.  While this Tailless Whipscorpion can be considered a “death machine”, humans do not really need to fear them.  Cockroaches and other nocturnal foragers, the typical prey of Tailless Whipscorpions, would definitely consider them to be “death machines.”  Though they are related to both spiders and scorpions, Tailless Whipscorpions have no venom.  They may deliver a painful bite if carelessly handled, but they are considered harmless. 

Letter 5 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Subject: Strange Spider with Claws
Location: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
November 8, 2012 2:30 pm
Hi,
I found this creature dead in my room in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Please could you help me identify it? Is it poisonous? I’ve seen this once previously in my garden.
Signature: Digitally

Tailless Whipscorpion

This Arachnid is known as a Tailless Whipscorpion, and though it resembles its venomous distant relatives the Scorpions and Spiders, it is not venomous itself.

Letter 6 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

mexican tailless whipscorpion – possible undescribed species
hey
I came accross your site while looking for information on a bug my friend found at his house. I found a pic that is the same on your site, and your description said that you had never seen one before. It was found north of manzanillo, in mexico in the one on your site. The one my friend found was here where we live right in manzanillo. It’s called a cancle by the locals, and most of them have never actually seen one, but for the ones that have they seem pretty scared of it. They say it’s more deadly then their deadliest scorpian here. They say the red clawlike things in the front can sting u and kill u in less than 5 mins. I would really like to know if this is true or not, but there just is nothing anywhere about this species! do you know anymore about it? i’m attaching a pic of a dead one that my friend found.
thanks
janet

Hi Janet,
Someone named Scootro also sent this image in to us for identification today, and he described it as a “crab-scorpion-lobster-spider” which is somewhat accurate. Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom and are not poisonous. Despite the fierce appearance, they are harmless to people, but predators to other arthropods.

Letter 7 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Barbados

 

Spider or Insect?
Location: Barbados, (In the Caribbean)
March 12, 2011 5:53 am
I recently found this in my house walking VERY slowly across the floor, I covered it with a transparent container and left it for a while. As soon as the container was removed it sprinted, since i have 12” tiles i can probably say almost a foot a second.
Found another one a couple months later which got crushed under the car tyre.
Signature: Recker

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Recker,
Though it looks quite dangerous, this Tailless Whipscorpion is perfectly harmless (though not to Cockroaches) as it lacks venom.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy nocturnal hunters that will keep your home clear of Cockroaches and other unwanted guests.  As you observed, they have the ability to scuttle quickly, often moving sideways like a crab.  Tailless Whipscorpions are found in many locations worldwide, though they are most common in warm regions.  Tailless Whipscorpions are neither Spiders nor insects.  They are classified as Arachnids, the same Class that includes Spiders.

Letter 8 – Tailless Whipscorpion from the Philippines

 

spiders
Location: Bukidnon, Philippines
November 22, 2010 7:45 pm
helo Mr. Bugman,
I had this cute creature inside the caves during our summer trip.
Can you name this one?
Tnx
Signature: mae

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Mae,
We don’t often get requests to identify Tailless Whipscorpions that include the word “cute” in the description.  Your request is quite refreshing.  Tailless Whipscorpions are found in many parts of the world that have warm climates.  They are harmless as they have no venom.  They are predatory, nocturnal hunters.

Letter 9 – Whipscorpion from Japan

 

Subject: What is this Bug?
Location: Mt. Yaedake, Okinawa, Japan
January 30, 2014 5:33 pm
We live in Okinawa, Japan. And were out viewing cherry blossoms yesterday, Jan. 30, 2014 when we came upon this critter by some vending machines. Our internet searches have not turned up an answer as to what it is. It seems to be part spider, part crab, and part scorpion. When nudged, it lifted up it’s abdomen like a scorpion would. We took a photo, and then left it alone.
Thank you for you help.
Signature: Perplexed in Okinawa

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Dear Perplexed in Okinawa,
This is a Whipscorpion, and prior to your letter, we did not realize they could be found in Japan.  We found information on the Western Austranian Museum website that there are two species in the genus
 Typopeltis that are found in Japan.  Whipscorpions are Arachnids like Spiders and Scorpion, but unlike Spiders and Scorpions, they have no venom.  The threat posture you witnessed might have been in preparation for discharging a mild acetic acid which is a defense mechanism, hence the common name Vinegaroon.  It is unclear to us why it is pictured on the Invasive Species of Japan website as indications are that it is native.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica:  “Whip scorpions are most common from India and Japan to New Guinea, although two genera occur in the New World.”

Thank you so much for your reply!  We felt we had exhausted our internet searches, but we were looking for an “Okinawa” bug and putting that in our search was obviously hindering our results.   We are so excited to have our little mystery solved.  Glad to know that they have no venom, although we did not want to get close enough to test that out.
Thanks Again!

Letter 10 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Belize

 

Belize bug
Location: Belize
February 17, 2012 10:16 am
locals say this bug eats cockroaches
Signature: travler

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear travler,
Whenever we receive a letter from someone who is terrified of a Tailless Whipscorpion, we try to explain that they are harmless creatures that lack venom and that they feed on nocturnal, marauding cockroaches.  It is nice to hear locals in Belize are passing on correct information.

Letter 11 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

Costa Rican Scary Bug!!
Location: Mal Pais, Costa Rica
November 7, 2010 3:18 pm
Just got back from Costa Rica. This bug was crawling at night above the door to our bungalow in Mal Pais. I would have liked to get a photo with some sort of size reference, but honestly, this thing scared the heck out of me and I didn’t want to get close. It looks like some sort of spider/scorpion/grasshopper beast. I called it ”Black Death.” What do you call it?
Signature: Ben, Chicago, IL

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Ben,
Though it might look scary, the Tailless Whipscorpion is perfectly harmless.  Unlike other venomous Arachnids like spiders and scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion does not possess venom.  It is a shy nocturnal hunter that will keep the Cockroach population down as it patrols rooms at night.

Letter 12 – Whipscorpion from Tanzania

 

Tanzanian 10 legged spider with claws
November 4, 2010 3:15 am
Dear Bugman,
I am living in a tropical coastal region of north Tanzania, there are all sorts of interesting bugs here (wadudu in Swahili!) but I thought this one was especially good and was wondering if you could help me identify it. It seems to have 10 legs; the front two with hooks or claws and the next row back being much longer and thinner. Probably about 10cm leg span. I thought it might be a Solifugae of some kind but haven’t found anything online which looks similar.
Looking forward to your thoughts,
Signature: Olly

Whipscorpion

Hi Olly,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion in the order Amblypygi, and despite its name, it is perfectly harmless since it does not have venom.  They are shy nocturnal hunters.  BugGuide describes them as:  “Spiderlike Large pincer-like, powerful and spiny claws used for capturing prey Wide head and thorax Flattenned overall appearance No spinnerets First pair of legs are very long and whiplike and function like antennae Eight eyes.

Letter 13 – Tailless Whipscorpion or Tail-Less Whip Scorpion???

 

large black bug with brown legs
October 17, 2009
we found this bug last night outside our front door. it has sux legs and two larger feelers on wither side of its body. its body is black and legs are brown. it crawls sideways and very fast. tried catching it but it was too quick for us
Rhiannon
Wickenburg, Arizona

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Rhiannon,
Once we turned to BugGuide to substantiate our simple response, that response suddenly became a bit more complicated.  We have always referred to this fascinating creature as a Tailless Whipscorpion, but now that we have noticed that BugGuide has taken its identification to the species level, Paraphrynus mexicanus is being commonly called a Tail-less Whip Scorpion, but the order Amblypygi is still being called Tailless Whipscorpions.  The species information page on BugGuide states:  “Primarily denizens of humid tropics, most North American species are found in Florida and Gulf states, where they occasionally enter houses
” but interestingly, all the submissions have been from Arizona.  We prefer the non-hyphenated, compound word spelling of Tailless Whipscorpion indicated on the order information page of BugGuide.  These are shy, nocturnal, harmless predators that do not have any venom, and despite the frightening appearance, they are perfectly harmless, though foraging cockroaches, if they could contribute to this web page, might disagree.  They are capable of rapid, crablike, sideways, scuttling locomotion.

Letter 14 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Kenya

 

Is this a spider?
Location: Machakos, Kenya
March 26, 2011 10:27 pm
Hi, I found this guy trying to get under our front door. When I tried to sweep him out he grabbed hold of the bristles of our broom. Is he a spider and do you think he’s poisonous?
Signature: Marc

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Marc,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion.  Like Spiders and Scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion is an Arachnid, but unlike Spiders and Scorpions which are venomous, the Tailless Whipscorpion lacks venom.  It is possible that they might bite if carelessly handled, but the bite does not contain poison.  This Tailless Whipscorpion grasped the broom with its modified pedipalps.  Like Scorpions, the pedipalps of the Tailless Whipscorpion are modified into grasping appendages, unlike the pedipalps of spiders.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy nocturnal hunters that prey upon Cockroaches and other arthropods that are generally not welcomed in the home.

Tailless Whipscorpion grasps broom

Letter 15 – Tailless Whipscorpions in Costa Rica

 

Family of spiders living in my shower!
December 14, 2009
I recently moved back into my old room in Costa Rica, after living 9 months in Australia. One day, all of a sudden, a pretty big spider came out of my shower drain. I don’t really like to kill bugs so I just let her share the shower with me. A couple of days later I saw two of them… but it wasn’t until I saw THREE of them staring at me that I really freaked out. I must say I’m used to worms, spiders, ants and pretty much any bug you can imagine, but I had never seen these spiders here before… and neither has my family. Any clues? Please don’t tell me I brought them from Australia!!!!
Karla
San Jose, Costa Rica

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Karla,
These beautiful Tailless Whipscorpions are native to Costa Rica.  They are harmless nocturnal predators that will help keep your house free of cockroaches and other unwanted visitors.  In Mexico, the Tailless Whipscorpion is called a Cancle and it is erroneously believed to be poisonous when it actually lacks venom.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Letter 16 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

Subject: What is this?
Location: Costa Rica
October 24, 2013 5:21 pm
Hi found it into my closet, what is that?
Signature: Diego

Cancle or Tailless Whipscorpion
Cancle or Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Diego,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion.  We understand that the name in Spanish is Cancle.  Though they are related to Scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom and they are considered harmless.

Hello Daniel, first of all I want to apologize because I just sent a few lines with almost no information, then I saw in your web site that people made a big description about bugs, now thanks to you I know that the little bug in my closet is name Cancle, as I wrote I´m from Costa Rica (tropical and warm place) and this is the first time that I see a bug like that.
One more time thank you very much for your information, great site btw!!!

You are most welcome Diego, and there is no need to apologize.  While it is true that we like to post submissions with as many details as possible, your concise letter did include the information that you found your Tailless Whipscorpion in the closet.  They are shy creatures that often hide during the day, emerging after dark to pursue prey.  Tailless Whipscorpions help to control Cockroach populations when they are permitted to share a home with human inhabitants.

Letter 17 – Tailless Whipscorpion: Crabspidion

 

Tail-less whip scorpion from the Fl. keys.
Dear bugman,
I live in the Florida keys, Key Largo to be exact, and I found what a bug loving friend identified ans a tail-less whip scorpion. We found them in our old wood pile. Me and my sister named it CrabSpidions because they had a mouth like a crab, a plating like a scorpion, and legs like a spider. You’d be glad to hear we avoided killing them because we only kill things that are in our immediate way and seem like a risk. I prefer to keep spiders alive so they can kill pests. We have a collection of what we call air spiders that are similar to daddy long-legs, who eat our ants that invade. Our CrabSpidions varied from half inch bodies, and 2 inch legs, to that one that was a large 1 inch body, and 3 inch long legs. Those are the pics we took. When taking the pictures I did not know that they weren’t poisonous, so I was afraid to get too close. Enjoy, because my bug loving friend was tickled to find me linking the pictures when she woke up over things she really loves.

Thanks for sending in the images.

Letter 18 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Cambodia

 

South East Asian Bug
Hey Bugman,
I saw this bug in June in Cambodia. It was by the temples of Angkor. My guide said he had never seen a bug like that in all his years. What is it and is it rare? Thanks,
Jon

Hi Jon,
Harmless Tailless Whipscorpions are found in many parts of the world. We have received photos from Africa, Asia, Central America, Mexico and the Southwest United States. They are shy nocturnal hunters, which explains why they are not often encountered.

Letter 19 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

do you know, what that is?
Hola bugman!!
i took a picture of this funny buggyspider in costa rica,pacific coast, close to tamarindo. it lives in a sugarcane made roof and comes out every night at 6:30pm. every night for 3 months now. we all here are argueing about, whether its a spider or a bug. have you seen such creature before? best regards,
meli

Hi Meli,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion. Whipscorpions are harmless Arachnids. They do not have venom and they are nocturnal hunters.

Letter 20 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

help identify this critter!
Dear bugman,
My friend took this photo recently during his trip in Costa Rica. He is convinced that it is a "pseudoscorpion," because he has seen photos that match; now I don’t know what kind of pseudoscorpions he’s been looking at because I know for sure this is not it! I am pretty sure it’s a whip scorpion but he would not believe me! Can you please help identify it and settle our debate? Thank you for the awesome site!
Celia

Hi Celia,
Common names are always subject to local variations, hence the widely accepted taxonomic system based on genus and species. However, in most circles, you would be considered correct. The Tailless Whipscorpion is a large but harmless creature. The Pseudoscorpion in minute by comparison, often being confused for a small tick.

Letter 21 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

Very fast strange spider
March 18, 2010
Hi i was in the mountains of costa rica a few mounths ago, in a village near Atenas, while there we saw a couple of these spiders. it appeared to have “pinchers” instead of fangs which you would expect on a spider, i have searched all over the internet and cannot find another picture like it can you help?
not sure what you mean here
Costa Rica, Atenas

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear not sure,
This is a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion.

Letter 22 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Ecuador

 

bug identification request
Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the previous identification. When searching for swallow-tailed moth (which looks much different than a swallowtail moth), I came across hits for swallowtail butterflies, but I didn’t think to also search under swallowtail moth. I have one more id request from Yasuni National Park. We saw what appears to be a spider in the attached picture while doing a nightwalk. Looking on your site, it resembles a tailless whipscorpion. Is that correct? Thanks,
Oliver

Hi Oliver,
You are correct. This fierce looking creature is a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion.

Letter 23 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Crutsy ID
This speciman showed up in my car in Nayarit Mexico. I found it after I was on the beach in San Blas. None of the locals had a clue what it was. Please feel free to contact me for further info. Thanks for hosting your site.
Steve Pratt

Hi Steve,
Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, harmless, nocturnal predators. Thanks for sending in this unusual angle for our archives.

Letter 24 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

found this tryin to get mexician hotel room near itza temple one nite
it was over 6 inch across ,, bigger than my uk size 9 feet ,,, well what can i say about the experiance ,, apart from scary ,,found its way into the drunken pairs room ,, so we chased it about with a palmcorder ,, till it scared me by jumping at the cam ,, the it was trapped in a massive jug ,, then throw back to the jungle,, dirty lil squatters ,,,, but on a different note ,, any idea what it is ,, ?? hope you can help me ps ,,. it says spider in pic name ,, but i differ now as it only got 6 legs ,, unless those massive jaws count
Bill

Hi Bill,
Fear not. The Tailless Whipscorpion is harmless. They are nocturnal predators that probably help rid the hotel of cockroaches.

Letter 25 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

what´s this?
Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM
is this a spyder?, what is it. Dangerous???, found under a pyle of stuff
gabriel
mexico

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hola Gabriel,
We never tire of posting images of the harmless, shy, nocturnal, predatory Tailless Whipscorpion.  They are Arachnids, but not spiders.

Letter 26 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject:  A face only a Predator could love
Geographic location of the bug:  Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Date: 10/24/2018
Time: 11:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this fellow happy and healthy on the kitchen floor amidst the corpses from a cockroach spraying.
From one tip to another the spread of the antennae is about 4 inches.
I’m having trouble looking him up online.   Any help would be greatfully received.
How you want your letter signed:  Tim

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Tim,
This Tailless Whipscorpion is a harmless, shy, nocturnal predator that will help keep you kitchen free of Cockroaches.

Letter 27 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Type of bug
January 27, 2010
Dear sir or madam
We have found this bug in a piece of wood in our house and we would like to find out more information about it.
email
South Africa

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear email,
You have discovered a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion.  Despite its fierce appearance, and its distant relatives and namesakes, the venomous true Scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion has no venom.  It is a shy nocturnal hunter that will help to rid your home of other undesirables, like cockroaches.

Letter 28 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Subject:  Unknown Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Springbok, Northern Cape, South Africa
Date: 08/08/2021
Time: 01:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this bug in our kitchen. I have never seen such a bug in my life. Please help us identify this strange visitor?
How you want your letter signed:  Michael Robinson

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Michael,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion, a non-venomous, nocturnal predator that is considered harmless, though it might possibly bite if carelessly handled.  In many tropical countries, Tailless Whipscorpions are tolerated indoors because they will prey upon unwanted nocturnal visitors like Cockroaches and Spiders.

Wow!
I have been living in this region for the past 15 years, and this is my forst time seeing one.
Thanks for identifying.
Regards,
Michael Robinson

Dear Michael,
We are so thrilled we have been able to educate you on the Tailless Whipscorpion, a shy, nocturnal hunter.

Letter 29 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Thailand

 

a bug found in Middle of Thailand.
Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 3:36 AM
we found this bug in a cave in the Middle of Thailand. It walks as the crab, and has 4 pairs of legs and 1 pair of pliers.
the of the bug is about 15cm in width and 10cm in length.
more detail in the image.
Hans Ngo – www.bikechina.org – The Ghost Rider Team
A bat cave in middle of Thailand.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Hans,
We have gotten photos of harmless Tailless Whipscorpions from many places around the world. These are shy nocturnal hunters that are totally harmless since they lack venom.

Letter 30 – Tailless Whipscorpion in British West Indies

 

Subject:  What ARE you?!?
Geographic location of the bug:  Montserrat, British West Indies
Date: 05/26/2021
Time: 10:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We are a tropical island. It’s almost 8 inches across from antennae, end to end. Discovered on my kitchen floor in the middle of the night.
How you want your letter signed:  Gretchen Hosbach

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Gretchen,
We are catching up on some unanswered requests and we decided to post your submission.  This shy, nocturnal hunter is a Tailless Whipscorpion.  They do not have venom and they are not considered dangerous to humans.  Because they will hunt and eat spiders and cockroaches, they are often tolerated indoors.

Letter 31 – Tailless Whipscorpion in Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica Spider
January 30, 2010
This spider was found in a cabin in the jungle in the southeastern corner of Costa Rica, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. S/he appeared in the evening around 7 pm, and was just sitting on the wall when I turned on the light. When I used the glass and paper method to move her, I noticed s/he moved kind of like a crab: sideways rather than forwards. S/he was fearful rather than aggressive in response to my trapping efforts. For scale, I left the white light switch panel in the photo, which was probably 5 or 5 1/2″ across. I have never seen anything like this spider and I have been unable to figure out what it might be based on anything I’ve seen online. I later asked a local about the photo and I was told that these spiders are seen when trees are cut down. I would appreciate any information you can share that might help me identify this spider.
Anne Bunner
Costa Rica

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Anne,
Though it is an Arachnid, your Tailless Whipscorpion is neither a spider nor a scorpion.  Tailless Whipscorpions, despite having a frightening appearance, are perfectly harmless since they have no venom.  They are shy nocturnal hunters that prey upon cockroaches and other night crawlers.

Letter 32 – Tailless Whipscorpion in KSA

 

weird looking bug
Location: ksa
December 14, 2010 5:31 pm
my brother saw this weird looking bug and took a picture of it , it looks weird and i’ve never seem any thing like it before can u identify if please ?
Signature: Lolzor

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Lolzor,
Sometimes a location is critical for proper identification, but we did not need your location to identify this Tailless Whipscorpion.  We have never tried to identify Tailless Whipscorpions to the species level, and we have always been content with a much more general Arachnid order Amblypygi
Trying to identify these non-venomous distant relatives of Scorpions is well beyond our capabilities, but the location of the sighting might be an easy way to narrow down the proper species identification for any Amblypygists (we just made up that word) out there.  Recently we have been indicating the location of the sighting as a means by which letters may be classified in the future, and to that end, KSA has us a bit confused.  Did you sight this Tailless Whipscorpion in Kosher Supervision of AmericaWas the Amblypygid scuttling around the Kurt Salmon Associates offices?  Was it spotted in the locker room after a KERNERSVILLE SOCCER ASSOCIATION game?  At this time of the year, we get numerous letters from Australia and other points south of the equator where summer is approaching.  Perhaps you are in Kimberly, South Africa.  Maybe, just maybe you are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Alas, we are just going to have to leave the location blank in your posting unless you are able to confirm where exactly this sighting of a Tailless Whipscorpion occurred.

Aloha Daniel –
KSA may be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Blessings of the holiday season to you & yours ~
Eliza

Thanks Eliza,
In an attempt to educate ourselves, we were amused at the possibilities a web search provided for the initials, and we decided to have some fun with the response.

Letter 33 – Tailless Whipscorpion in Virgin Islands

 

Tailless Whipscorpion British Virgin Islands
Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 10:16 AM
This Tailless Whipscorpion photo was taken in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, about 10pm on Feb 3 2008. It had been moving back and forth to alternate sides of the wood door as I tried to see it better using a flashlight, and it seems to have gotten used to me as it allowed my hand to get pretty close. The flash must have scared it away because it took off when the photo was taken – they can move really fast! Is that a single eye in the middle of its front top? That seems an unusual place for an eye. (BTW I think it is only fair to make a donation when submitting a photo or question, so I made a PayPal contribution to you, watch for confirmation # 9 edited for privacy)
RD
North side of Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi RD,
We were very happy to receive your letter since the last Tailless Whipscorpion submission we received was asphyxiated with insecticide.  Tailless Whipscorpions can scuttle sideways in a crablike fashion very quickly.  According to BugGuide, Tailless Whipscorpions have eight eyes.  You can also find some interesting information on the About Everything website.  Thanks for your kind contribution.

Letter 34 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject: Mexican spider??
Location: Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexico
March 23, 2014 9:07 pm
This spider? Was in our hotel room, twice!, during a recent trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. What kind of spider is it? Does it bite? If so, is it poisonous? Thanks for your help!
Signature: Freaked out traveller!

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Freaked out traveller,
We know that traveling is a very traumatic experience fraught with the unknown, but you needn’t fear this Tailless Whipscorpion.  It doesn’t have venom and it is unlikely that it would bite a human unless it was carelessly handled.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that are often tolerated in Mexico, where they are known by the name Cancle, because they feed on Cockroaches and Bed Bugs.

Letter 35 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico of Tindarapos

 

Subject: What’s this bug!!?
Location: Cancun Mexico
July 12, 2016 10:30 pm
Hey, so I’m terrified of any type of bugs to begin with… I recently moved to Cancun, Mexico where the weather is super humid and hot. Last night I came across this spider-crab looking bug.. it had crab like claws on his face and apart from all its legs it had what I am assuming are legs but are super long and stringy than the rest of its body… it moved really quick. I’m just scared if there are more of these around my house and if they’re dangerous.. please help. I have a huge phobia of bugs 🙁
Signature: Scared of everything

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Scared of everything,
Despite its fearsome appearance and name, this Tailless Whipscorpion poses no threat to humans.  Unlike their venomous namesakes, Tailless Whipscorpions have no venom, though they do have powerful chelicerae or jaws, and they might bite if carelessly handled.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that are often tolerated in tropical countries as they help control Cockroaches in the home.  In Mexico, the Tailless Whipscorpion is called a Cancle.

Update:  We just received a comment from Yadira informing us that in Michoacan, Tailless Whipscorpions are called Tindarapos.

Letter 36 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject: Tailless Whipscorpion?
Location: Chemuyíl Pueblo, México Yucatán
January 8, 2017 10:58 am
Hi. This creature is living inside my casita’s biodigestor (a sewage processing tank), but I imagine it has a good life in there. It seems to use the long front legs as feelers, probing in all directions. There are many unusual bugs in the jungle here, such as spiders and scorpions that carry their babies on their backs.
I was delighted to find your site – thanks!
P.S. Can you tell me about spiderlings traveling in a “conga line”, hundreds of them? Why?
Signature: Malcolm

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Malcolm,
Back in 2006 we received images of a Tailless Whipscorpion from Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico with the information that a local name is Cancle.  Wolf Spiders are among the most well-known Spiders that exhibit maternal behavior, caring for the young Spiderlings until they are ready to disperse.  We have never heard of a situation where Spiderlings remain together after leaving the female’s protection, and we suspect the “conga line” you witnessed was of creatures other than Spiders.  The behavior you describe is more typical of social insects like ants or immature Hemipterans.  Are you able to provide an image? 

Letter 37 – Tailless Whipscorpion or Cancle from Mexico

 

cancle
August 12, 2009
i would love to have more information from the cancles. my name is eternity and i’m 12 years old.  this is my cancle…
mexico,nay.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Eternity,
In Mexico, the name Cancle is used for the Tailless Whipscorpions in the order Amblypygi.  According to BugGuide:  “Life Cycle  Males deposites a spermatophore which the female picks up with her genitalia. The mother broods the eggs in a special sac under her abdomen. After hatching, the young climb on to the mother’s back and are carried around until able to fend for themselves.  Remarks  No venom glands, and do not sting or bite. If disturbed, they scuttle sideways.” Since they don’t have venom, Tailless Whipscorpions are harmless.  They are shy nocturnal hunters that will feed on the cockroaches they encounter in the home.  We are very happy to have received your letter full of wonder about this magnificent creature since earlier today we posted a very disturbing letter from a person who smashed, poisoned and fed to ants a Giant Vinegaroon, another order of Whipscorpions.  We are thankful to hear about your curiosity concerning the wonders of nature.

Letter 38 – Tailless Whipscorpion in South Africa

 

Subject: Strange 8 legged thing
Location: South Africa
May 25, 2017 5:52 am
I found this thing could please help identify it and wether it’s dangerous thank you
Sincerely
Jane
Signature: JD

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Jane,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion, a shy, nocturnal predator that will prey upon unwanted household pests like Cockroaches as well as Spiders and Scorpions.  Tailless Whipscorpions might bite if carelessly handled, but they are considered harmless as they have no venom.

Thanks so much really appreciate the help I researched and apparently they’re also called whipspiders? http://www.arc.agric.za/arc-ppri/Pages/SANSA/Whipspiders.aspx

Letter 39 – Tailless Whipscorpion with young from Costa Rica

 

whip scorpion with young
Just in case you might like to see one with her young riding on back.

We would love to post it, but if you didn’t take the photo, we cannot.

Greetings.
Yes, I took the photo.
Photo credit, if you do such a thing…
Photographer: Robert Stephan
Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Taken: March 26, 2006 at 6.39pm EST

Thank you so much Robert,
We are thrilled to have your photo on our site. It will stay on the homepage several days and remain on the scorpion/whipscorpion page as long as we have a site.

Letter 40 – Tailless Whipscorpion: Wrongly accused of a poisonous bite in Mexico

 

Bitten by flat Crab-like Spider
January 6, 2010
Hello Bugman, hopefully you can help me identify this night-time nibbler. You have requested I ‘provide as much narrative & information as possible’, so please forgive me if this is too wordy:
I am currently vacationing in La Paz Mexico, in the Southern California Baja. On December 28th ’09, I injured my left shoulder muscles lifting heavy luggage in an odd position. Then on the 3rd of January 2010 at around 11pm, I re-aggravated it while quickly getting out of a vehicle. Later on I went to sleep lying flat on my back as I was in a bit of pain, & felt I shouldn’t lie on my left side. The pain was however was not that bad, just felt like a pulled muscle (which I am familiar with as I do a lot of sports & have had various muscle strains before). I awoke around 1am on the 4th in extreme pain as I was rolling onto my right side. Initially I thought I’d again moved in an odd way, but the pain was so excruciating, I had to awaken my girlfriend to get me a bag of ice. As I sat on the edge of the bed waiting, I saw this little critter crawling slowly away, about 3 feet from the bed. As I’ve had a life-long love-hate fascination with spiders, I decided to cat ch it. When I approached with a large cup, I realized it had potential to move very fast, about 1 foot per second! I caught in nonetheless, and left it alive under the cup. We looked for bite marks but saw nothing anywhere on my torso. After a while, I felt the pain was such that I needed medical attention. I had since gone into shock, my entire left shoulder was swollen and painful, & I had what felt like blood poisoning pains in my left arm. We reluctantly awoke our friends whose house we are staying at here in La Paz. My friend looked at the spider, and said that in his 10 years of living here, had never seen anything like it. He then killed it. I decided to keep it around to find out what it was.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

(Sidebar): A few years back I was vacationing in Costa Rica, and saw a spider that looked just like this one. It was on the ceiling of the cabin we were staying in high in a volcanic region called ‘Rincon de la Viejo’. When I blew at it, it scurried rapidly across the ceiling & disappeared into a crack about 1/8” thick. It would peek out every once in a while, & I would blow some air to watch it scurry away again.

So off we went to the hospital in La Paz around 2am on the 4th. Thankfully my friends speak Spanish & could describe the injury. We had a very competent Doctor check me out, who determined (& rightly so under the circumstances at the time), that I was merely dehydrated, and my muscles were tensing up to protect the muscle damage that had recurred. After a re-hydrating intravenous, 2 hours observation (because we told him about the coincidental sighting of the spider near the bed), he released me with a prescription for an oral pain killer/muscle relaxant, and a topical anti-inflammatory ointment. He also had me get a sling to support my arm. We arrived back at the house around 5am, & I went to sleep upstairs in an easy chair so my arm could be supported.

The next morning I felt marginally better, so I proceeded with the doctor’s orders & took the medication, arm in sling, rehyrated, etc…We went on with our day, albeit a subdued one. Later my shoulder started to feel a lot better, swelling reduced, and mobility increased. I didn’t even need the sling that much & wore it only off and on. Still no signs of any bites. We again slept upstairs, me in the chair, my girlfriend on the sofa beside me.

On the 5th, I felt like I was on the mend, so we went out and enjoyed the beach, & got home after sunset. Around 8pm my girlfriend noted I had a little blue-discoloration under my left pectoral. I thought it might have been a stain from the blue sling, but when I later removed my shirt around 11pm, I could clearly see 2 purple circles there side by side, about the size of nickels. That’s when we started taking pictures & we realized that the highly unlikely coincidence of the spider had bitten me in the same area I had repeatedly injured my shoulder muscle, was in fact an almost certain reality!

This morning we noticed that slight purplish coloration was developing along the underside of the pectoral muscle, although most swelling had subsided. So we took the spider & returned to the hospital to show the doctor. Upon examination, he immediately agreed that the spider had bitten me. I had forgotten to mention to him earlier that I usually have almost no reaction to bug bites such as wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, etc (I have worked extensively in Canadian forests, and received countless stings & bites, which resulted in a small red dot at best). Thankfully they had a spider/venom specialist there who also reviewed my injury & the bug in question. He told us he had in fact seen it before but couldn’t recall its name. He also said that in the last 10 years, it was only the 3rd time he’d seen the bug. He said it has highly toxic venom, and although not lethal, the last 2 victims had arrived in total paralysis, swollen throat, and were convulsing. They both had a f ull recovery. I am to return to the hospital this coming Monday for another checkup, and the Doctor says he will have the spider’s name for me then.

So now they have me on the following medication:
1) Tarifol Flex tablets – muscle relaxant & painkiller
2) Mesulid Nimesulida topical gel – anti-inflammatory
3) Meticorten tablets – steroid to counteract the bruising, which is apparently due to my body fighting the toxins, causing small capillary damage
4) Virlix Cetirizina tablets – antihistamine in case I start to have trouble breathing
5) Avelox tablets – antibiotics in case the bite itself becomes infected.

Sorry for the long explanation, but you asked! I am not asking for a doctor’s diagnosis, but would really like to know what I am dealing with here. Any info on this bug’s name, habitat, tendencies, toxicity, or whatever advice you have would be greatly appreciated!! If you would like to see picture of the bites & reaction, let me know I have lots!!
Aaron (once bitten, twice purple!)
La Paz, Mexico, Southern California Baja

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Aaron,
We sympathize with your injury as it is no fun being incapacitated at any time, much less while on holiday.  The creature in your photo is a Tailless Whipscorpion, a non-venomous arachnid.  In Mexico, they are called Cancles and there is a misconception that they are deadly poisonous.  We repeat, the Tailless Whipscorpion has NO VENOM.  It is possible that they might bite, but reputable accounts we have read call them  harmless, shy, nocturnal predators, despite the frightening appearance.  They are beneficial predators that will feed on troublesome insects like cockroaches that infest buildings.  Though they are not aggressive, we suppose it is possible that a person might be bitten by a Tailless Whipscorpion, but the bite would be little more than a pinch, and since there is no venom, the reactions you describe should not be attributed to the Tailless Whipscorpion.  If you were bitten by something venomous, that is a different story.  All we can say for certain is that the Tailless Whipscorpion is not a venomous creature.  Since you did not actually see anything bite you, we think you should let this poor, dead, Tailless Whipscorpion off the hook and search elsewhere for the cause of your pain and bruises.

Letter 41 – Tailless Whipscorpions from Peru

 

Whip Spider help
Location: Peru, South America
September 16, 2011 8:16 am
Hi Bugman,
These guys were found in Peru (Manu National Park), unsure if they are the same species. I have no knowledge at all on these
Signature: Sebastian Bawn

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Sebastian,
We do not possess the necessary scientific credentials to determine if the two Tailless Whipscorpions you photographed in Peru are the same species, and we also question whether an expert would be able to make that classification based on photographs.  We would guess that they are most likely the same species since we doubt there is much species diversity among Whipscorpions found in the same location.

Tailless Whipscorpion

Letter 42 – Tanzanian Tailless Whipscorpion in Captivity

 

Subject: whipspiders!
Location: she’s a pet, so anywhere.
September 13, 2015 12:57 pm
I didn’t see very many pictures of Tanzanian giant whipspiders on the site, so I thought you might want some of one happily eating, one freshly molted and one intact molt. I’ve seen a lot of people get confused by the changed coloration between a molt, a freshly molted, and an average one. So, here you go!
Signature: Vinegaroon salad

Pet Whipscorpion
Pet Whipscorpion

Dear Vinegaroon salad,
Thank you for sending your images of your pet Tanzanian Giant Whipscorpion.

Letter 43 – Unnecessary Carnage: Tailless Whipscorpion from Greece

 

Bug dentification Please! Weird!!
Location: Greece – Athens
September 10, 2011 11:30 am
I found thi Bug in my bathtub!I have never seen anything like it. It has One huge antenna ( maybe it had two once i couldnt tell, but when i found it it had one)and was slighlty bigger than a penny.
Hope i get a reply!
Thanks in Advance
Alexia
Signature: Alexia

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Alexia,
Even though it is related to venomous Arachnids like spiders and scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion does not have venom, so it is harmless.  They are shy nocturnal predators that will feed on Cockroaches and spiders and other creatures you might not want in the home.  Though Tailless Whipscorpions are frightening in their appearance, we hope you will learn to tolerate them should you ever encounter another.

Letter 44 – Whip Spider from Australia

 

Whip Spider
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM
My friends came over for breakfast the other day and while I was talking I noticed a little spider hanging off the side of a plant pot. I told my friends but as soon as they turned around the spider coiled up its legs and looked exactly like a small stick. They thought I was mad! But eventually they saw it move and became very interested in the little fellow.
It’s about 2 to 3 cm long and I think it looks a little bit like a miniature face-hugger form the film Alien!
Today I searched online and discovered that it is a whip spider. I know that the pictures I took of it aren’t too amazing, but it was so difficult to get a picture of it with its legs spread out that I thought images of them un-camouflaged would be quite rare.
Bonnie
Melbourne, Australia

Whip Spider
Whip Spider

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for contributing photos of the fascinating Whip Spider, Argyrodes colubrinus, to our website archives.  We are linking to the Australian Museum Online website that states:  “Whip Spiders get their name from their elongate, worm-like body shape – up to about 20 mm long but only about 1 mm wide. They are common in forest habitats and can readily be seen in gardens on summer nights, suspended on delicate silk lines in spaces among shrubbery.
They specialise in feeding on wandering spiders, usually juveniles. The Whip Spider sits at the top of a few long silk threads that run downs below it among foliage. When a wandering spider walks up one of these handy silk `bridges’ it gets a nasty surprise. The waiting Whip Spider uses toothed bristles on the end segment of the last leg to comb out swathes of entangling sticky silk from its spinnerets. These rapidly entangle the struggling victim so that it cannot escape. “

Whip Spider
Whip Spider

Letter 45 – Whipscorpion Carnage

 

Is this a scorpion?
Dear Bugman,
I live in central Thailand, and I just killed this thing in my bathroom last night. Is this a real scorpion? A friend just refered me to your site, and I think it might be a tailless whipscorpion. The body of this one was about 2-3 inches long, but we killed a little one a couple weeks ago that was probably only a centimeter long.
Thanks,
Kristen

Hi Kristen,
This is not a Tailless Whipscorpion, since it has a tail. It is a Whipscorpion in the order Uropygi. They have a long whiplike tail instead of a stinger. They have no venom so are not harmful to people. We have a single species in the U.S. that is known as a Vinegarone. Most species in this order can secrete acetic acid, the mild acid found in vinegar, and this lead to the common name. Since they ravenously eat cockroaches and other insects, they are beneficial, and your killing spree amounts to Unnecessary Carnage.

Letter 46 – Whipscorpion

 

Caribbean Insect
Found this monster in our Cistern Tank room last night. The piece of PVC pipe next to it is 8" long and 3" in diameter. I’ve had tarantulas crawl on me and scorpions sting me in bed, but never have I seen anything here on St. John this big. Can you identify it? No one around here has ever seen one before.
Thanks,
Debbie Grammer
St. John, US Virgin Islands

Hi Debbie,
Tailless Whipscorpions are Arachnids, not insects. Even though they are large and fierce looking, they are shy and harmless.

Letter 47 – Whipscorpion

 

Crazy bug with crazy tail
Hi,
I was camping in southern New Mexico a few days ago and this insect came into the bathroom. I’ve never seen anything like it! Its body was about 3 inches long, and the tail (is that a tail?) was probably an inch and a half on top of that. It was moving slowly, made a loop around the bathroom, and left. From some of your other posts, I think this might be a solpugid, but i’ve never heard of or seen these guys before so any info you have would be really cool. thanks!
nick
outside Carlsbad, NM

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Hi Nick,
This is a Whipscorpion, and it is an Arachnid, not an insect.  Arachnids like Insects are a class of Arthropods.  The Whipscorpion and Solpugid are both Arachnids, but in different Orders.  Whipscorpions do not have venom and are perfectly harmless to humans.  The same cannot be said for tiny creatures.  Whipscorpions are nocturnal predators that feed on insects, other arachnids and even small lizards.  We believe your specimen is Mastigoproctus giganteus, sometimes called a Giant Vinegaroon or Grampus.
Your photo is quite detailed and beautiful. Here is what BugGuide has to say about the Giant Vinegaroon: “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.”

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the quick reply and very detailed information! I was curious about whether it was an arachnid or insect, because the first pair of appendages looked anatomically just like the legs, but were so much longer and, as you said, were being used as feelers and not for locomotion. i had no idea that there were arachnids that only walked on six legs! very cool.
best,
nick

Letter 48 – Whipscorpion from China

 

Subject: Bug in China
Location: Wuhan, Hubei, China
April 27, 2014 3:36 pm
During our visits with family in Wuhan China, we came across this interesting bug. We’ve tried to figure out what it is, but have had little luck identifying it. We saw it in April in Wuhan China, on some stairs, with foliage near by. We almost stepped on it, and it reared up with it’s pincers.
Just curious what it is, everyone in China just told us to stay a way, it’s not a good bug.
Please enlighten us if possible.
Signature: Kathryn

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Dear Kathryn,
You have had an encounter with a Whipscorpion in the Arachnid order Uropygi, and while we hesitate to say it is perfectly harmless, you really don’t have too much to fear as they are generally shy, nocturnal hunters.  Unlike true Scorpions with venomous stings, Whipscorpions lack venom, however, they do have a rather unique means of defense.  According to an online article we found on SpringerLink, several genera from North America and East Asia:  “are known to use acetic acid and caprylic acid as a defense mechanism.”  This weak acetic acid, a component in vinegar, has led to the common name of Vinegaroon in North America.  Whipscorpions also have powerful mandibles, and they might bite if carelessly handled.

Letter 49 – Whipscorpion from Cambodia

 

Subject: Fearsome bug in Cambodia
Location: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
April 30, 2017 9:06 pm
I have seen this bug in my bathroom (both times it was I the bathroom)) acouple of times in my home in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The time of year is March and April. As it looks fearsome, I would like to know anything I can about it.
Signature: Al

Whipscorpion

Dear Al,
Despite its fearsome appearance, this Whipscorpion is harmless since it has no venom, however its mandibles might have been capable of biting prior to its untimely demise, which is why we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.  Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that will help keep your bathroom and other rooms free of Cockroaches, Spider and Scorpions, and other unwanted visitors, which is why they are frequently tolerated in tropical countries.

Letter 50 – Whipscorpion from Indonesia

 

spider or scorpion?
I’m from indonesia, and i want to ask about the bug that i hv found. Its interesting me when the first i saw it, its likes a spider, and has a needle in the back of its tail, has 2 claws, 6 legs, and 1 pair antenna. Can you tell me what is it? Class of spider or scopion? And Sorry bout my bad english. I think i hv found a new bug!!

This is a harmless Whipscorpion, and it is magnificent.

Letter 51 – Whipscorpion from Thailand

 

Rescuing fish…!
Hello guys from a big fan ! Yes, a big hoorah for the best bug site on the net. Even though it’s largely New World orientated, the photos, the philosophy, the humour..oh, and the scientific accuracy are all first class, and searches usually point me in the right direction for Eurpoean and Asian examples, although you do deservedly have a world-wide audience. I’m glad to hear that you,ve been swamped over the summer because it means that people are out there are getting interested in the amazing variety to be found in the insect world, and also know the right people to contact with their discoveries. However, your popularity has prevented me from consulting your oracle during the summer, as I didn’t want to overburden you with my footling little problem, but ……ooh, I can’t contain my curiosity any longer. I spotted this little beauty on the 29th of May this year, and after looking all over the place, still can’t even work out if it’s an insect or a spider, or even something more resembling a prawn ! An interesting little story is behind my unearthing of ” Jaws ” , though, so here goes… On that day, I was staying at the house of friends in Rayong, Thailand, and it was an unbelievably hot morning, which built up to one of the many thunderstorms which we’d been having in the afternoons and evenings at the time. This time, though, we had a near-apocalyptic tropical downpour ( as opposed to a normal tropical downpour ), and water was just cascading off the roof in all directions, as the guttering was completely overwhelmed. At one point there came a great crash from the front yard which didn’t sound as if it came from the heavens, so we all peered out the front door to see what had happened. What we found was that a section of guttering at the front of the house had given way under the pressure of water and crashed down into the front yard on top of a huge, three-foot high earthenware bowl, which was, as is usual in Thai gardens, full of water lilies and fish. The huge pot shattered, of course, and the hapless fish were spewed out all over the already waterlogged front yard, flapping about and in imminent danger of being washed away, so we had to grab pans from the kitchen and run out into the cloudburst to try and scoop them up !! In the middle of the rescue operation, I found this very unfishlike thing floundering around as well, so scooped it up as well. Its body ( jaws head,thorax, abdomen ) is about the same length as my little finger, though obviously not so thick. I’m afraid it’s not such a good photo, and I’ll give the circumstances as my excuse, but it seems to have eight legs, although the extra ones may not be legs.. Also, it has a long “sting ” on it’s abdomen, at least the same length as the abdomen itself, possibly an ovipositor. Originally I had assumed that it had come out of the water jar along with the fish, and was therefore aquatic, but it’s posssible that it was just hanging around in the yard and got caught up in the all-pervading wetness !! My first thought was that it was a dragonfly nymph, quickly discounted, and then maybe a water-scorpion, but it doesn’t quite match that either, and I’m still not sure if it’s an insect or an arachnid, so……HELP !!! ( I let it go pretty quickly, as I didn’t fancy a nip from those mandibles, and yes, the fish are all doing fine !! )……Cheers
Graham Moore, Purmerend, Netherlands……..and quite often Rayong, Thailand.

Hi Graham,
This is a Whipscorpion. We found a near exact match on a crazy blog entitled Wesley in Thailand. We also posted another similar example from Thailand last year that met a nasty fate when it was discovered. Sorry we can’t provide an exact species.

Letter 52 – Whipscorpion, in London!!!!!

 

can you identify this please?
July 25, 2009
hi
this bug found in my kitchen in north London United Kingdom.
however have recently returned from central America / Caribean holiday.
for scale one picture contains a shaving razor handle.
thank you
john
j davey
london U.K

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Dear j davey,
First off, this has to be the smallest digital file we have ever had sent to us.  Despite our feeble eyesight, we have no doubt that is is a Whipscorpion in the order Uropygi.  It is not native to England and it is found in the Caribbean.  It is also a nocturnal hunter that may take shelter in a suitcase or other dark place.  It would seem customs did not do a thorough search.  Whipscorpions are perfectly harmless to humans despite the fierce appearance as they have no venom.

thank you
yes, looks just like it
sorry about the size of the file, didn’t realise it was so small, it was taken using the camera on the phone.
thank you for your help
any idea of a good home for it?
john

We would recommend a local pet store that sells Tarantulas.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Subject: Harvestman?
Location: Glenmore, KZN
September 20, 2015 8:29 am
Good Day,
My parents found this bug in their garden shed in Glenmore, KZN. Does anybody know what bug this is?
Signature: Nielen

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Nielen,
This Tailless Whipscorpion in the Arachnid Order Amblypygi is a shy, nocturnal hunter that poses to threat to humans as Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom.  They do have strong mandibles and might bite if carelessly handled, but they are more likely to scuttle away to avoid a confrontation.  Allowing it to live in the garden shed will help to reduce the numbers of roaches, spiders and other creatures that might pose a bigger threat to humans.

Letter 2 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject: Tailless Whipscorpion
Location: Mexican border with Guatemala
February 8, 2015 11:08 am
I took this picture on 1/29/2015, identified by the guide as a whip scorpion. But I think it might actually be a tailless whipscorpion, as it has no tail. The picture was taken with a flash inside a Maya ruin at Yaxchilan. I think that the flash has caused shadows so that the legs look “double”. Yaxchilan is on the Mexican side of the Usumacinta River – the border to Guatemala.
From another of your articles, it appears that this creature is from the order Amblypygi , but I was wondering if the species can be identified. “BUG GUIDE” is only for US & Canada, and this creature is Mexican/ Central American.
Signature: Thanks, Bob Williamson

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear  This Bob,
We don’t generally attempt to identify Tailless Whipscorpions beyond the order, but perhaps one of our readers will write in with more information.
  We did locate a pdf entitled LOS AMBLIPÍGIDOS O TENDARAPOS DE MÉXICO (ARACHNIDA: AMBLYPYGI) by Luis F. de Armas that contains the following information:  “The whip spiders or tailless whipscorpions of Mexico (Arachnida: Amblypygi)  Abstract: The Mexican fauna of whip spiders or tailless whipscorpions contains 20 species belonging to the genera Acantho- phrynus Kraepelin, 1899 (one species), Paraphrynus Moreno, 1940 (11 species) and Phrynus Lamarck, 1801 (8 species) (Phrynidae: Phryninae). Only five (25%) of these species are not Mexican endemics, whereas six Paraphrynus species are troglobites. Paraphrynus and Phrynus have 82% and 50% of endemic species, respectively. The highest specific richness and endemism are concentrated in the southeastern states (Chiapas, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo).”

Hey Daniel:
Thanks for the quick response.  As I look closer at my photo, I can see some banding on the legs, which I previously missed.  I know that the Amblypygi name ending in “Mexico” (which of course I cannot relocate on the web now that I want to again) did not look like this one, mainly because of the light brown and banded legs.  Maybe the flash is hiding that a little.
This was the first time I have seen one and because of the size, it is certainly scary looking.  I was surprised to find out it can neither bite nor sting humans.
Thanks for your help.
Later, This Bob.

Hi again This Bob,
Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom and they do not have stingers, so they pose no threat to humans.  We thought we once read that a large specimen might bite, but according to BugGuide:  “No venom glands, and do not sting or bite. If disturbed, they scuttle sideways.”

 

 

Letter 3 – Whipscorpion from Dominican Republic

 

Subject:  Found it lingering outside room
Geographic location of the bug:  Samana island, Dominican republic
Date: 11/11/2017
Time: 02:03 PM EDT
Just wondering what this bug is, it seemed rather slow moving when I saw it
How you want your letter signed:  Devin

Whipscorpion

Dear Devin,
This is a Whipscorpion or Vinegaroon, a non-venomous, distant relative of Scorpions.  Whipscorpions are not considered dangerous to humans, but they do have strong mandibles, so they might bite if carelessly handled.  They are shy nocturnal predators that will help keep populations of Cockroaches under control.  Arachnoboards lists
Mastigoproctus proscorpio as a Dominican species.

 

Letter 4 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Nicaragua

 

First glance: Scorpion spider death machine
Location: southwest Nicaragua, Granada-ish
March 1, 2012 10:34 pm
Hellooo, I have been seeing a lot of this bug in my location in Nicaragua. they seem to like cooler dark spaces, often up in the corners of eves, but most often lurking approximately 6-10 inches from that extremely important object you are reaching for. this one is approximately five inches wide including it’s legs but I have seen one that was at least seven inches with the longest part of it’s legs stretched. At first glance I thought it was a spider, then after seeing a couple more i realized it didn’t have the required amount of legs…my question is…what kind of damage is this sucka going to do when it releases it’s grip from under the top bunk and lands on my face?!
Signature: yazzyenna

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear yazzyenne,
We found your letter terribly amusing.  While this Tailless Whipscorpion can be considered a “death machine”, humans do not really need to fear them.  Cockroaches and other nocturnal foragers, the typical prey of Tailless Whipscorpions, would definitely consider them to be “death machines.”  Though they are related to both spiders and scorpions, Tailless Whipscorpions have no venom.  They may deliver a painful bite if carelessly handled, but they are considered harmless. 

Letter 5 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Subject: Strange Spider with Claws
Location: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
November 8, 2012 2:30 pm
Hi,
I found this creature dead in my room in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Please could you help me identify it? Is it poisonous? I’ve seen this once previously in my garden.
Signature: Digitally

Tailless Whipscorpion

This Arachnid is known as a Tailless Whipscorpion, and though it resembles its venomous distant relatives the Scorpions and Spiders, it is not venomous itself.

Letter 6 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

mexican tailless whipscorpion – possible undescribed species
hey
I came accross your site while looking for information on a bug my friend found at his house. I found a pic that is the same on your site, and your description said that you had never seen one before. It was found north of manzanillo, in mexico in the one on your site. The one my friend found was here where we live right in manzanillo. It’s called a cancle by the locals, and most of them have never actually seen one, but for the ones that have they seem pretty scared of it. They say it’s more deadly then their deadliest scorpian here. They say the red clawlike things in the front can sting u and kill u in less than 5 mins. I would really like to know if this is true or not, but there just is nothing anywhere about this species! do you know anymore about it? i’m attaching a pic of a dead one that my friend found.
thanks
janet

Hi Janet,
Someone named Scootro also sent this image in to us for identification today, and he described it as a “crab-scorpion-lobster-spider” which is somewhat accurate. Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom and are not poisonous. Despite the fierce appearance, they are harmless to people, but predators to other arthropods.

Letter 7 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Barbados

 

Spider or Insect?
Location: Barbados, (In the Caribbean)
March 12, 2011 5:53 am
I recently found this in my house walking VERY slowly across the floor, I covered it with a transparent container and left it for a while. As soon as the container was removed it sprinted, since i have 12” tiles i can probably say almost a foot a second.
Found another one a couple months later which got crushed under the car tyre.
Signature: Recker

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Recker,
Though it looks quite dangerous, this Tailless Whipscorpion is perfectly harmless (though not to Cockroaches) as it lacks venom.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy nocturnal hunters that will keep your home clear of Cockroaches and other unwanted guests.  As you observed, they have the ability to scuttle quickly, often moving sideways like a crab.  Tailless Whipscorpions are found in many locations worldwide, though they are most common in warm regions.  Tailless Whipscorpions are neither Spiders nor insects.  They are classified as Arachnids, the same Class that includes Spiders.

Letter 8 – Tailless Whipscorpion from the Philippines

 

spiders
Location: Bukidnon, Philippines
November 22, 2010 7:45 pm
helo Mr. Bugman,
I had this cute creature inside the caves during our summer trip.
Can you name this one?
Tnx
Signature: mae

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Mae,
We don’t often get requests to identify Tailless Whipscorpions that include the word “cute” in the description.  Your request is quite refreshing.  Tailless Whipscorpions are found in many parts of the world that have warm climates.  They are harmless as they have no venom.  They are predatory, nocturnal hunters.

Letter 9 – Whipscorpion from Japan

 

Subject: What is this Bug?
Location: Mt. Yaedake, Okinawa, Japan
January 30, 2014 5:33 pm
We live in Okinawa, Japan. And were out viewing cherry blossoms yesterday, Jan. 30, 2014 when we came upon this critter by some vending machines. Our internet searches have not turned up an answer as to what it is. It seems to be part spider, part crab, and part scorpion. When nudged, it lifted up it’s abdomen like a scorpion would. We took a photo, and then left it alone.
Thank you for you help.
Signature: Perplexed in Okinawa

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Dear Perplexed in Okinawa,
This is a Whipscorpion, and prior to your letter, we did not realize they could be found in Japan.  We found information on the Western Austranian Museum website that there are two species in the genus
 Typopeltis that are found in Japan.  Whipscorpions are Arachnids like Spiders and Scorpion, but unlike Spiders and Scorpions, they have no venom.  The threat posture you witnessed might have been in preparation for discharging a mild acetic acid which is a defense mechanism, hence the common name Vinegaroon.  It is unclear to us why it is pictured on the Invasive Species of Japan website as indications are that it is native.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica:  “Whip scorpions are most common from India and Japan to New Guinea, although two genera occur in the New World.”

Thank you so much for your reply!  We felt we had exhausted our internet searches, but we were looking for an “Okinawa” bug and putting that in our search was obviously hindering our results.   We are so excited to have our little mystery solved.  Glad to know that they have no venom, although we did not want to get close enough to test that out.
Thanks Again!

Letter 10 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Belize

 

Belize bug
Location: Belize
February 17, 2012 10:16 am
locals say this bug eats cockroaches
Signature: travler

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear travler,
Whenever we receive a letter from someone who is terrified of a Tailless Whipscorpion, we try to explain that they are harmless creatures that lack venom and that they feed on nocturnal, marauding cockroaches.  It is nice to hear locals in Belize are passing on correct information.

Letter 11 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

Costa Rican Scary Bug!!
Location: Mal Pais, Costa Rica
November 7, 2010 3:18 pm
Just got back from Costa Rica. This bug was crawling at night above the door to our bungalow in Mal Pais. I would have liked to get a photo with some sort of size reference, but honestly, this thing scared the heck out of me and I didn’t want to get close. It looks like some sort of spider/scorpion/grasshopper beast. I called it ”Black Death.” What do you call it?
Signature: Ben, Chicago, IL

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Ben,
Though it might look scary, the Tailless Whipscorpion is perfectly harmless.  Unlike other venomous Arachnids like spiders and scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion does not possess venom.  It is a shy nocturnal hunter that will keep the Cockroach population down as it patrols rooms at night.

Letter 12 – Whipscorpion from Tanzania

 

Tanzanian 10 legged spider with claws
November 4, 2010 3:15 am
Dear Bugman,
I am living in a tropical coastal region of north Tanzania, there are all sorts of interesting bugs here (wadudu in Swahili!) but I thought this one was especially good and was wondering if you could help me identify it. It seems to have 10 legs; the front two with hooks or claws and the next row back being much longer and thinner. Probably about 10cm leg span. I thought it might be a Solifugae of some kind but haven’t found anything online which looks similar.
Looking forward to your thoughts,
Signature: Olly

Whipscorpion

Hi Olly,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion in the order Amblypygi, and despite its name, it is perfectly harmless since it does not have venom.  They are shy nocturnal hunters.  BugGuide describes them as:  “Spiderlike Large pincer-like, powerful and spiny claws used for capturing prey Wide head and thorax Flattenned overall appearance No spinnerets First pair of legs are very long and whiplike and function like antennae Eight eyes.

Letter 13 – Tailless Whipscorpion or Tail-Less Whip Scorpion???

 

large black bug with brown legs
October 17, 2009
we found this bug last night outside our front door. it has sux legs and two larger feelers on wither side of its body. its body is black and legs are brown. it crawls sideways and very fast. tried catching it but it was too quick for us
Rhiannon
Wickenburg, Arizona

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Rhiannon,
Once we turned to BugGuide to substantiate our simple response, that response suddenly became a bit more complicated.  We have always referred to this fascinating creature as a Tailless Whipscorpion, but now that we have noticed that BugGuide has taken its identification to the species level, Paraphrynus mexicanus is being commonly called a Tail-less Whip Scorpion, but the order Amblypygi is still being called Tailless Whipscorpions.  The species information page on BugGuide states:  “Primarily denizens of humid tropics, most North American species are found in Florida and Gulf states, where they occasionally enter houses
” but interestingly, all the submissions have been from Arizona.  We prefer the non-hyphenated, compound word spelling of Tailless Whipscorpion indicated on the order information page of BugGuide.  These are shy, nocturnal, harmless predators that do not have any venom, and despite the frightening appearance, they are perfectly harmless, though foraging cockroaches, if they could contribute to this web page, might disagree.  They are capable of rapid, crablike, sideways, scuttling locomotion.

Letter 14 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Kenya

 

Is this a spider?
Location: Machakos, Kenya
March 26, 2011 10:27 pm
Hi, I found this guy trying to get under our front door. When I tried to sweep him out he grabbed hold of the bristles of our broom. Is he a spider and do you think he’s poisonous?
Signature: Marc

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Marc,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion.  Like Spiders and Scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion is an Arachnid, but unlike Spiders and Scorpions which are venomous, the Tailless Whipscorpion lacks venom.  It is possible that they might bite if carelessly handled, but the bite does not contain poison.  This Tailless Whipscorpion grasped the broom with its modified pedipalps.  Like Scorpions, the pedipalps of the Tailless Whipscorpion are modified into grasping appendages, unlike the pedipalps of spiders.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy nocturnal hunters that prey upon Cockroaches and other arthropods that are generally not welcomed in the home.

Tailless Whipscorpion grasps broom

Letter 15 – Tailless Whipscorpions in Costa Rica

 

Family of spiders living in my shower!
December 14, 2009
I recently moved back into my old room in Costa Rica, after living 9 months in Australia. One day, all of a sudden, a pretty big spider came out of my shower drain. I don’t really like to kill bugs so I just let her share the shower with me. A couple of days later I saw two of them… but it wasn’t until I saw THREE of them staring at me that I really freaked out. I must say I’m used to worms, spiders, ants and pretty much any bug you can imagine, but I had never seen these spiders here before… and neither has my family. Any clues? Please don’t tell me I brought them from Australia!!!!
Karla
San Jose, Costa Rica

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Karla,
These beautiful Tailless Whipscorpions are native to Costa Rica.  They are harmless nocturnal predators that will help keep your house free of cockroaches and other unwanted visitors.  In Mexico, the Tailless Whipscorpion is called a Cancle and it is erroneously believed to be poisonous when it actually lacks venom.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Letter 16 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

Subject: What is this?
Location: Costa Rica
October 24, 2013 5:21 pm
Hi found it into my closet, what is that?
Signature: Diego

Cancle or Tailless Whipscorpion
Cancle or Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Diego,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion.  We understand that the name in Spanish is Cancle.  Though they are related to Scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpions do not have venom and they are considered harmless.

Hello Daniel, first of all I want to apologize because I just sent a few lines with almost no information, then I saw in your web site that people made a big description about bugs, now thanks to you I know that the little bug in my closet is name Cancle, as I wrote I´m from Costa Rica (tropical and warm place) and this is the first time that I see a bug like that.
One more time thank you very much for your information, great site btw!!!

You are most welcome Diego, and there is no need to apologize.  While it is true that we like to post submissions with as many details as possible, your concise letter did include the information that you found your Tailless Whipscorpion in the closet.  They are shy creatures that often hide during the day, emerging after dark to pursue prey.  Tailless Whipscorpions help to control Cockroach populations when they are permitted to share a home with human inhabitants.

Letter 17 – Tailless Whipscorpion: Crabspidion

 

Tail-less whip scorpion from the Fl. keys.
Dear bugman,
I live in the Florida keys, Key Largo to be exact, and I found what a bug loving friend identified ans a tail-less whip scorpion. We found them in our old wood pile. Me and my sister named it CrabSpidions because they had a mouth like a crab, a plating like a scorpion, and legs like a spider. You’d be glad to hear we avoided killing them because we only kill things that are in our immediate way and seem like a risk. I prefer to keep spiders alive so they can kill pests. We have a collection of what we call air spiders that are similar to daddy long-legs, who eat our ants that invade. Our CrabSpidions varied from half inch bodies, and 2 inch legs, to that one that was a large 1 inch body, and 3 inch long legs. Those are the pics we took. When taking the pictures I did not know that they weren’t poisonous, so I was afraid to get too close. Enjoy, because my bug loving friend was tickled to find me linking the pictures when she woke up over things she really loves.

Thanks for sending in the images.

Letter 18 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Cambodia

 

South East Asian Bug
Hey Bugman,
I saw this bug in June in Cambodia. It was by the temples of Angkor. My guide said he had never seen a bug like that in all his years. What is it and is it rare? Thanks,
Jon

Hi Jon,
Harmless Tailless Whipscorpions are found in many parts of the world. We have received photos from Africa, Asia, Central America, Mexico and the Southwest United States. They are shy nocturnal hunters, which explains why they are not often encountered.

Letter 19 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

do you know, what that is?
Hola bugman!!
i took a picture of this funny buggyspider in costa rica,pacific coast, close to tamarindo. it lives in a sugarcane made roof and comes out every night at 6:30pm. every night for 3 months now. we all here are argueing about, whether its a spider or a bug. have you seen such creature before? best regards,
meli

Hi Meli,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion. Whipscorpions are harmless Arachnids. They do not have venom and they are nocturnal hunters.

Letter 20 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

help identify this critter!
Dear bugman,
My friend took this photo recently during his trip in Costa Rica. He is convinced that it is a "pseudoscorpion," because he has seen photos that match; now I don’t know what kind of pseudoscorpions he’s been looking at because I know for sure this is not it! I am pretty sure it’s a whip scorpion but he would not believe me! Can you please help identify it and settle our debate? Thank you for the awesome site!
Celia

Hi Celia,
Common names are always subject to local variations, hence the widely accepted taxonomic system based on genus and species. However, in most circles, you would be considered correct. The Tailless Whipscorpion is a large but harmless creature. The Pseudoscorpion in minute by comparison, often being confused for a small tick.

Letter 21 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Costa Rica

 

Very fast strange spider
March 18, 2010
Hi i was in the mountains of costa rica a few mounths ago, in a village near Atenas, while there we saw a couple of these spiders. it appeared to have “pinchers” instead of fangs which you would expect on a spider, i have searched all over the internet and cannot find another picture like it can you help?
not sure what you mean here
Costa Rica, Atenas

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear not sure,
This is a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion.

Letter 22 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Ecuador

 

bug identification request
Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the previous identification. When searching for swallow-tailed moth (which looks much different than a swallowtail moth), I came across hits for swallowtail butterflies, but I didn’t think to also search under swallowtail moth. I have one more id request from Yasuni National Park. We saw what appears to be a spider in the attached picture while doing a nightwalk. Looking on your site, it resembles a tailless whipscorpion. Is that correct? Thanks,
Oliver

Hi Oliver,
You are correct. This fierce looking creature is a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion.

Letter 23 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Crutsy ID
This speciman showed up in my car in Nayarit Mexico. I found it after I was on the beach in San Blas. None of the locals had a clue what it was. Please feel free to contact me for further info. Thanks for hosting your site.
Steve Pratt

Hi Steve,
Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, harmless, nocturnal predators. Thanks for sending in this unusual angle for our archives.

Letter 24 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

found this tryin to get mexician hotel room near itza temple one nite
it was over 6 inch across ,, bigger than my uk size 9 feet ,,, well what can i say about the experiance ,, apart from scary ,,found its way into the drunken pairs room ,, so we chased it about with a palmcorder ,, till it scared me by jumping at the cam ,, the it was trapped in a massive jug ,, then throw back to the jungle,, dirty lil squatters ,,,, but on a different note ,, any idea what it is ,, ?? hope you can help me ps ,,. it says spider in pic name ,, but i differ now as it only got 6 legs ,, unless those massive jaws count
Bill

Hi Bill,
Fear not. The Tailless Whipscorpion is harmless. They are nocturnal predators that probably help rid the hotel of cockroaches.

Letter 25 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

what´s this?
Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM
is this a spyder?, what is it. Dangerous???, found under a pyle of stuff
gabriel
mexico

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hola Gabriel,
We never tire of posting images of the harmless, shy, nocturnal, predatory Tailless Whipscorpion.  They are Arachnids, but not spiders.

Letter 26 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject:  A face only a Predator could love
Geographic location of the bug:  Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Date: 10/24/2018
Time: 11:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this fellow happy and healthy on the kitchen floor amidst the corpses from a cockroach spraying.
From one tip to another the spread of the antennae is about 4 inches.
I’m having trouble looking him up online.   Any help would be greatfully received.
How you want your letter signed:  Tim

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Tim,
This Tailless Whipscorpion is a harmless, shy, nocturnal predator that will help keep you kitchen free of Cockroaches.

Letter 27 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Type of bug
January 27, 2010
Dear sir or madam
We have found this bug in a piece of wood in our house and we would like to find out more information about it.
email
South Africa

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear email,
You have discovered a harmless Tailless Whipscorpion.  Despite its fierce appearance, and its distant relatives and namesakes, the venomous true Scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion has no venom.  It is a shy nocturnal hunter that will help to rid your home of other undesirables, like cockroaches.

Letter 28 – Tailless Whipscorpion from South Africa

 

Subject:  Unknown Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Springbok, Northern Cape, South Africa
Date: 08/08/2021
Time: 01:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this bug in our kitchen. I have never seen such a bug in my life. Please help us identify this strange visitor?
How you want your letter signed:  Michael Robinson

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Michael,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion, a non-venomous, nocturnal predator that is considered harmless, though it might possibly bite if carelessly handled.  In many tropical countries, Tailless Whipscorpions are tolerated indoors because they will prey upon unwanted nocturnal visitors like Cockroaches and Spiders.

Wow!
I have been living in this region for the past 15 years, and this is my forst time seeing one.
Thanks for identifying.
Regards,
Michael Robinson

Dear Michael,
We are so thrilled we have been able to educate you on the Tailless Whipscorpion, a shy, nocturnal hunter.

Letter 29 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Thailand

 

a bug found in Middle of Thailand.
Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 3:36 AM
we found this bug in a cave in the Middle of Thailand. It walks as the crab, and has 4 pairs of legs and 1 pair of pliers.
the of the bug is about 15cm in width and 10cm in length.
more detail in the image.
Hans Ngo – www.bikechina.org – The Ghost Rider Team
A bat cave in middle of Thailand.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Hans,
We have gotten photos of harmless Tailless Whipscorpions from many places around the world. These are shy nocturnal hunters that are totally harmless since they lack venom.

Letter 30 – Tailless Whipscorpion in British West Indies

 

Subject:  What ARE you?!?
Geographic location of the bug:  Montserrat, British West Indies
Date: 05/26/2021
Time: 10:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We are a tropical island. It’s almost 8 inches across from antennae, end to end. Discovered on my kitchen floor in the middle of the night.
How you want your letter signed:  Gretchen Hosbach

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Gretchen,
We are catching up on some unanswered requests and we decided to post your submission.  This shy, nocturnal hunter is a Tailless Whipscorpion.  They do not have venom and they are not considered dangerous to humans.  Because they will hunt and eat spiders and cockroaches, they are often tolerated indoors.

Letter 31 – Tailless Whipscorpion in Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica Spider
January 30, 2010
This spider was found in a cabin in the jungle in the southeastern corner of Costa Rica, near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. S/he appeared in the evening around 7 pm, and was just sitting on the wall when I turned on the light. When I used the glass and paper method to move her, I noticed s/he moved kind of like a crab: sideways rather than forwards. S/he was fearful rather than aggressive in response to my trapping efforts. For scale, I left the white light switch panel in the photo, which was probably 5 or 5 1/2″ across. I have never seen anything like this spider and I have been unable to figure out what it might be based on anything I’ve seen online. I later asked a local about the photo and I was told that these spiders are seen when trees are cut down. I would appreciate any information you can share that might help me identify this spider.
Anne Bunner
Costa Rica

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Anne,
Though it is an Arachnid, your Tailless Whipscorpion is neither a spider nor a scorpion.  Tailless Whipscorpions, despite having a frightening appearance, are perfectly harmless since they have no venom.  They are shy nocturnal hunters that prey upon cockroaches and other night crawlers.

Letter 32 – Tailless Whipscorpion in KSA

 

weird looking bug
Location: ksa
December 14, 2010 5:31 pm
my brother saw this weird looking bug and took a picture of it , it looks weird and i’ve never seem any thing like it before can u identify if please ?
Signature: Lolzor

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Lolzor,
Sometimes a location is critical for proper identification, but we did not need your location to identify this Tailless Whipscorpion.  We have never tried to identify Tailless Whipscorpions to the species level, and we have always been content with a much more general Arachnid order Amblypygi
Trying to identify these non-venomous distant relatives of Scorpions is well beyond our capabilities, but the location of the sighting might be an easy way to narrow down the proper species identification for any Amblypygists (we just made up that word) out there.  Recently we have been indicating the location of the sighting as a means by which letters may be classified in the future, and to that end, KSA has us a bit confused.  Did you sight this Tailless Whipscorpion in Kosher Supervision of AmericaWas the Amblypygid scuttling around the Kurt Salmon Associates offices?  Was it spotted in the locker room after a KERNERSVILLE SOCCER ASSOCIATION game?  At this time of the year, we get numerous letters from Australia and other points south of the equator where summer is approaching.  Perhaps you are in Kimberly, South Africa.  Maybe, just maybe you are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Alas, we are just going to have to leave the location blank in your posting unless you are able to confirm where exactly this sighting of a Tailless Whipscorpion occurred.

Aloha Daniel –
KSA may be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Blessings of the holiday season to you & yours ~
Eliza

Thanks Eliza,
In an attempt to educate ourselves, we were amused at the possibilities a web search provided for the initials, and we decided to have some fun with the response.

Letter 33 – Tailless Whipscorpion in Virgin Islands

 

Tailless Whipscorpion British Virgin Islands
Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 10:16 AM
This Tailless Whipscorpion photo was taken in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, about 10pm on Feb 3 2008. It had been moving back and forth to alternate sides of the wood door as I tried to see it better using a flashlight, and it seems to have gotten used to me as it allowed my hand to get pretty close. The flash must have scared it away because it took off when the photo was taken – they can move really fast! Is that a single eye in the middle of its front top? That seems an unusual place for an eye. (BTW I think it is only fair to make a donation when submitting a photo or question, so I made a PayPal contribution to you, watch for confirmation # 9 edited for privacy)
RD
North side of Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi RD,
We were very happy to receive your letter since the last Tailless Whipscorpion submission we received was asphyxiated with insecticide.  Tailless Whipscorpions can scuttle sideways in a crablike fashion very quickly.  According to BugGuide, Tailless Whipscorpions have eight eyes.  You can also find some interesting information on the About Everything website.  Thanks for your kind contribution.

Letter 34 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject: Mexican spider??
Location: Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexico
March 23, 2014 9:07 pm
This spider? Was in our hotel room, twice!, during a recent trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. What kind of spider is it? Does it bite? If so, is it poisonous? Thanks for your help!
Signature: Freaked out traveller!

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Freaked out traveller,
We know that traveling is a very traumatic experience fraught with the unknown, but you needn’t fear this Tailless Whipscorpion.  It doesn’t have venom and it is unlikely that it would bite a human unless it was carelessly handled.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that are often tolerated in Mexico, where they are known by the name Cancle, because they feed on Cockroaches and Bed Bugs.

Letter 35 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico of Tindarapos

 

Subject: What’s this bug!!?
Location: Cancun Mexico
July 12, 2016 10:30 pm
Hey, so I’m terrified of any type of bugs to begin with… I recently moved to Cancun, Mexico where the weather is super humid and hot. Last night I came across this spider-crab looking bug.. it had crab like claws on his face and apart from all its legs it had what I am assuming are legs but are super long and stringy than the rest of its body… it moved really quick. I’m just scared if there are more of these around my house and if they’re dangerous.. please help. I have a huge phobia of bugs 🙁
Signature: Scared of everything

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Scared of everything,
Despite its fearsome appearance and name, this Tailless Whipscorpion poses no threat to humans.  Unlike their venomous namesakes, Tailless Whipscorpions have no venom, though they do have powerful chelicerae or jaws, and they might bite if carelessly handled.  Tailless Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that are often tolerated in tropical countries as they help control Cockroaches in the home.  In Mexico, the Tailless Whipscorpion is called a Cancle.

Update:  We just received a comment from Yadira informing us that in Michoacan, Tailless Whipscorpions are called Tindarapos.

Letter 36 – Tailless Whipscorpion from Mexico

 

Subject: Tailless Whipscorpion?
Location: Chemuyíl Pueblo, México Yucatán
January 8, 2017 10:58 am
Hi. This creature is living inside my casita’s biodigestor (a sewage processing tank), but I imagine it has a good life in there. It seems to use the long front legs as feelers, probing in all directions. There are many unusual bugs in the jungle here, such as spiders and scorpions that carry their babies on their backs.
I was delighted to find your site – thanks!
P.S. Can you tell me about spiderlings traveling in a “conga line”, hundreds of them? Why?
Signature: Malcolm

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Malcolm,
Back in 2006 we received images of a Tailless Whipscorpion from Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico with the information that a local name is Cancle.  Wolf Spiders are among the most well-known Spiders that exhibit maternal behavior, caring for the young Spiderlings until they are ready to disperse.  We have never heard of a situation where Spiderlings remain together after leaving the female’s protection, and we suspect the “conga line” you witnessed was of creatures other than Spiders.  The behavior you describe is more typical of social insects like ants or immature Hemipterans.  Are you able to provide an image? 

Letter 37 – Tailless Whipscorpion or Cancle from Mexico

 

cancle
August 12, 2009
i would love to have more information from the cancles. my name is eternity and i’m 12 years old.  this is my cancle…
mexico,nay.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Eternity,
In Mexico, the name Cancle is used for the Tailless Whipscorpions in the order Amblypygi.  According to BugGuide:  “Life Cycle  Males deposites a spermatophore which the female picks up with her genitalia. The mother broods the eggs in a special sac under her abdomen. After hatching, the young climb on to the mother’s back and are carried around until able to fend for themselves.  Remarks  No venom glands, and do not sting or bite. If disturbed, they scuttle sideways.” Since they don’t have venom, Tailless Whipscorpions are harmless.  They are shy nocturnal hunters that will feed on the cockroaches they encounter in the home.  We are very happy to have received your letter full of wonder about this magnificent creature since earlier today we posted a very disturbing letter from a person who smashed, poisoned and fed to ants a Giant Vinegaroon, another order of Whipscorpions.  We are thankful to hear about your curiosity concerning the wonders of nature.

Letter 38 – Tailless Whipscorpion in South Africa

 

Subject: Strange 8 legged thing
Location: South Africa
May 25, 2017 5:52 am
I found this thing could please help identify it and wether it’s dangerous thank you
Sincerely
Jane
Signature: JD

Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Jane,
This is a Tailless Whipscorpion, a shy, nocturnal predator that will prey upon unwanted household pests like Cockroaches as well as Spiders and Scorpions.  Tailless Whipscorpions might bite if carelessly handled, but they are considered harmless as they have no venom.

Thanks so much really appreciate the help I researched and apparently they’re also called whipspiders? http://www.arc.agric.za/arc-ppri/Pages/SANSA/Whipspiders.aspx

Letter 39 – Tailless Whipscorpion with young from Costa Rica

 

whip scorpion with young
Just in case you might like to see one with her young riding on back.

We would love to post it, but if you didn’t take the photo, we cannot.

Greetings.
Yes, I took the photo.
Photo credit, if you do such a thing…
Photographer: Robert Stephan
Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Taken: March 26, 2006 at 6.39pm EST

Thank you so much Robert,
We are thrilled to have your photo on our site. It will stay on the homepage several days and remain on the scorpion/whipscorpion page as long as we have a site.

Letter 40 – Tailless Whipscorpion: Wrongly accused of a poisonous bite in Mexico

 

Bitten by flat Crab-like Spider
January 6, 2010
Hello Bugman, hopefully you can help me identify this night-time nibbler. You have requested I ‘provide as much narrative & information as possible’, so please forgive me if this is too wordy:
I am currently vacationing in La Paz Mexico, in the Southern California Baja. On December 28th ’09, I injured my left shoulder muscles lifting heavy luggage in an odd position. Then on the 3rd of January 2010 at around 11pm, I re-aggravated it while quickly getting out of a vehicle. Later on I went to sleep lying flat on my back as I was in a bit of pain, & felt I shouldn’t lie on my left side. The pain was however was not that bad, just felt like a pulled muscle (which I am familiar with as I do a lot of sports & have had various muscle strains before). I awoke around 1am on the 4th in extreme pain as I was rolling onto my right side. Initially I thought I’d again moved in an odd way, but the pain was so excruciating, I had to awaken my girlfriend to get me a bag of ice. As I sat on the edge of the bed waiting, I saw this little critter crawling slowly away, about 3 feet from the bed. As I’ve had a life-long love-hate fascination with spiders, I decided to cat ch it. When I approached with a large cup, I realized it had potential to move very fast, about 1 foot per second! I caught in nonetheless, and left it alive under the cup. We looked for bite marks but saw nothing anywhere on my torso. After a while, I felt the pain was such that I needed medical attention. I had since gone into shock, my entire left shoulder was swollen and painful, & I had what felt like blood poisoning pains in my left arm. We reluctantly awoke our friends whose house we are staying at here in La Paz. My friend looked at the spider, and said that in his 10 years of living here, had never seen anything like it. He then killed it. I decided to keep it around to find out what it was.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

(Sidebar): A few years back I was vacationing in Costa Rica, and saw a spider that looked just like this one. It was on the ceiling of the cabin we were staying in high in a volcanic region called ‘Rincon de la Viejo’. When I blew at it, it scurried rapidly across the ceiling & disappeared into a crack about 1/8” thick. It would peek out every once in a while, & I would blow some air to watch it scurry away again.

So off we went to the hospital in La Paz around 2am on the 4th. Thankfully my friends speak Spanish & could describe the injury. We had a very competent Doctor check me out, who determined (& rightly so under the circumstances at the time), that I was merely dehydrated, and my muscles were tensing up to protect the muscle damage that had recurred. After a re-hydrating intravenous, 2 hours observation (because we told him about the coincidental sighting of the spider near the bed), he released me with a prescription for an oral pain killer/muscle relaxant, and a topical anti-inflammatory ointment. He also had me get a sling to support my arm. We arrived back at the house around 5am, & I went to sleep upstairs in an easy chair so my arm could be supported.

The next morning I felt marginally better, so I proceeded with the doctor’s orders & took the medication, arm in sling, rehyrated, etc…We went on with our day, albeit a subdued one. Later my shoulder started to feel a lot better, swelling reduced, and mobility increased. I didn’t even need the sling that much & wore it only off and on. Still no signs of any bites. We again slept upstairs, me in the chair, my girlfriend on the sofa beside me.

On the 5th, I felt like I was on the mend, so we went out and enjoyed the beach, & got home after sunset. Around 8pm my girlfriend noted I had a little blue-discoloration under my left pectoral. I thought it might have been a stain from the blue sling, but when I later removed my shirt around 11pm, I could clearly see 2 purple circles there side by side, about the size of nickels. That’s when we started taking pictures & we realized that the highly unlikely coincidence of the spider had bitten me in the same area I had repeatedly injured my shoulder muscle, was in fact an almost certain reality!

This morning we noticed that slight purplish coloration was developing along the underside of the pectoral muscle, although most swelling had subsided. So we took the spider & returned to the hospital to show the doctor. Upon examination, he immediately agreed that the spider had bitten me. I had forgotten to mention to him earlier that I usually have almost no reaction to bug bites such as wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, etc (I have worked extensively in Canadian forests, and received countless stings & bites, which resulted in a small red dot at best). Thankfully they had a spider/venom specialist there who also reviewed my injury & the bug in question. He told us he had in fact seen it before but couldn’t recall its name. He also said that in the last 10 years, it was only the 3rd time he’d seen the bug. He said it has highly toxic venom, and although not lethal, the last 2 victims had arrived in total paralysis, swollen throat, and were convulsing. They both had a f ull recovery. I am to return to the hospital this coming Monday for another checkup, and the Doctor says he will have the spider’s name for me then.

So now they have me on the following medication:
1) Tarifol Flex tablets – muscle relaxant & painkiller
2) Mesulid Nimesulida topical gel – anti-inflammatory
3) Meticorten tablets – steroid to counteract the bruising, which is apparently due to my body fighting the toxins, causing small capillary damage
4) Virlix Cetirizina tablets – antihistamine in case I start to have trouble breathing
5) Avelox tablets – antibiotics in case the bite itself becomes infected.

Sorry for the long explanation, but you asked! I am not asking for a doctor’s diagnosis, but would really like to know what I am dealing with here. Any info on this bug’s name, habitat, tendencies, toxicity, or whatever advice you have would be greatly appreciated!! If you would like to see picture of the bites & reaction, let me know I have lots!!
Aaron (once bitten, twice purple!)
La Paz, Mexico, Southern California Baja

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Dear Aaron,
We sympathize with your injury as it is no fun being incapacitated at any time, much less while on holiday.  The creature in your photo is a Tailless Whipscorpion, a non-venomous arachnid.  In Mexico, they are called Cancles and there is a misconception that they are deadly poisonous.  We repeat, the Tailless Whipscorpion has NO VENOM.  It is possible that they might bite, but reputable accounts we have read call them  harmless, shy, nocturnal predators, despite the frightening appearance.  They are beneficial predators that will feed on troublesome insects like cockroaches that infest buildings.  Though they are not aggressive, we suppose it is possible that a person might be bitten by a Tailless Whipscorpion, but the bite would be little more than a pinch, and since there is no venom, the reactions you describe should not be attributed to the Tailless Whipscorpion.  If you were bitten by something venomous, that is a different story.  All we can say for certain is that the Tailless Whipscorpion is not a venomous creature.  Since you did not actually see anything bite you, we think you should let this poor, dead, Tailless Whipscorpion off the hook and search elsewhere for the cause of your pain and bruises.

Letter 41 – Tailless Whipscorpions from Peru

 

Whip Spider help
Location: Peru, South America
September 16, 2011 8:16 am
Hi Bugman,
These guys were found in Peru (Manu National Park), unsure if they are the same species. I have no knowledge at all on these
Signature: Sebastian Bawn

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Sebastian,
We do not possess the necessary scientific credentials to determine if the two Tailless Whipscorpions you photographed in Peru are the same species, and we also question whether an expert would be able to make that classification based on photographs.  We would guess that they are most likely the same species since we doubt there is much species diversity among Whipscorpions found in the same location.

Tailless Whipscorpion

Letter 42 – Tanzanian Tailless Whipscorpion in Captivity

 

Subject: whipspiders!
Location: she’s a pet, so anywhere.
September 13, 2015 12:57 pm
I didn’t see very many pictures of Tanzanian giant whipspiders on the site, so I thought you might want some of one happily eating, one freshly molted and one intact molt. I’ve seen a lot of people get confused by the changed coloration between a molt, a freshly molted, and an average one. So, here you go!
Signature: Vinegaroon salad

Pet Whipscorpion
Pet Whipscorpion

Dear Vinegaroon salad,
Thank you for sending your images of your pet Tanzanian Giant Whipscorpion.

Letter 43 – Unnecessary Carnage: Tailless Whipscorpion from Greece

 

Bug dentification Please! Weird!!
Location: Greece – Athens
September 10, 2011 11:30 am
I found thi Bug in my bathtub!I have never seen anything like it. It has One huge antenna ( maybe it had two once i couldnt tell, but when i found it it had one)and was slighlty bigger than a penny.
Hope i get a reply!
Thanks in Advance
Alexia
Signature: Alexia

Tailless Whipscorpion

Hi Alexia,
Even though it is related to venomous Arachnids like spiders and scorpions, the Tailless Whipscorpion does not have venom, so it is harmless.  They are shy nocturnal predators that will feed on Cockroaches and spiders and other creatures you might not want in the home.  Though Tailless Whipscorpions are frightening in their appearance, we hope you will learn to tolerate them should you ever encounter another.

Letter 44 – Whip Spider from Australia

 

Whip Spider
Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM
My friends came over for breakfast the other day and while I was talking I noticed a little spider hanging off the side of a plant pot. I told my friends but as soon as they turned around the spider coiled up its legs and looked exactly like a small stick. They thought I was mad! But eventually they saw it move and became very interested in the little fellow.
It’s about 2 to 3 cm long and I think it looks a little bit like a miniature face-hugger form the film Alien!
Today I searched online and discovered that it is a whip spider. I know that the pictures I took of it aren’t too amazing, but it was so difficult to get a picture of it with its legs spread out that I thought images of them un-camouflaged would be quite rare.
Bonnie
Melbourne, Australia

Whip Spider
Whip Spider

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for contributing photos of the fascinating Whip Spider, Argyrodes colubrinus, to our website archives.  We are linking to the Australian Museum Online website that states:  “Whip Spiders get their name from their elongate, worm-like body shape – up to about 20 mm long but only about 1 mm wide. They are common in forest habitats and can readily be seen in gardens on summer nights, suspended on delicate silk lines in spaces among shrubbery.
They specialise in feeding on wandering spiders, usually juveniles. The Whip Spider sits at the top of a few long silk threads that run downs below it among foliage. When a wandering spider walks up one of these handy silk `bridges’ it gets a nasty surprise. The waiting Whip Spider uses toothed bristles on the end segment of the last leg to comb out swathes of entangling sticky silk from its spinnerets. These rapidly entangle the struggling victim so that it cannot escape. “

Whip Spider
Whip Spider

Letter 45 – Whipscorpion Carnage

 

Is this a scorpion?
Dear Bugman,
I live in central Thailand, and I just killed this thing in my bathroom last night. Is this a real scorpion? A friend just refered me to your site, and I think it might be a tailless whipscorpion. The body of this one was about 2-3 inches long, but we killed a little one a couple weeks ago that was probably only a centimeter long.
Thanks,
Kristen

Hi Kristen,
This is not a Tailless Whipscorpion, since it has a tail. It is a Whipscorpion in the order Uropygi. They have a long whiplike tail instead of a stinger. They have no venom so are not harmful to people. We have a single species in the U.S. that is known as a Vinegarone. Most species in this order can secrete acetic acid, the mild acid found in vinegar, and this lead to the common name. Since they ravenously eat cockroaches and other insects, they are beneficial, and your killing spree amounts to Unnecessary Carnage.

Letter 46 – Whipscorpion

 

Caribbean Insect
Found this monster in our Cistern Tank room last night. The piece of PVC pipe next to it is 8" long and 3" in diameter. I’ve had tarantulas crawl on me and scorpions sting me in bed, but never have I seen anything here on St. John this big. Can you identify it? No one around here has ever seen one before.
Thanks,
Debbie Grammer
St. John, US Virgin Islands

Hi Debbie,
Tailless Whipscorpions are Arachnids, not insects. Even though they are large and fierce looking, they are shy and harmless.

Letter 47 – Whipscorpion

 

Crazy bug with crazy tail
Hi,
I was camping in southern New Mexico a few days ago and this insect came into the bathroom. I’ve never seen anything like it! Its body was about 3 inches long, and the tail (is that a tail?) was probably an inch and a half on top of that. It was moving slowly, made a loop around the bathroom, and left. From some of your other posts, I think this might be a solpugid, but i’ve never heard of or seen these guys before so any info you have would be really cool. thanks!
nick
outside Carlsbad, NM

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Hi Nick,
This is a Whipscorpion, and it is an Arachnid, not an insect.  Arachnids like Insects are a class of Arthropods.  The Whipscorpion and Solpugid are both Arachnids, but in different Orders.  Whipscorpions do not have venom and are perfectly harmless to humans.  The same cannot be said for tiny creatures.  Whipscorpions are nocturnal predators that feed on insects, other arachnids and even small lizards.  We believe your specimen is Mastigoproctus giganteus, sometimes called a Giant Vinegaroon or Grampus.
Your photo is quite detailed and beautiful. Here is what BugGuide has to say about the Giant Vinegaroon: “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.”

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for the quick reply and very detailed information! I was curious about whether it was an arachnid or insect, because the first pair of appendages looked anatomically just like the legs, but were so much longer and, as you said, were being used as feelers and not for locomotion. i had no idea that there were arachnids that only walked on six legs! very cool.
best,
nick

Letter 48 – Whipscorpion from China

 

Subject: Bug in China
Location: Wuhan, Hubei, China
April 27, 2014 3:36 pm
During our visits with family in Wuhan China, we came across this interesting bug. We’ve tried to figure out what it is, but have had little luck identifying it. We saw it in April in Wuhan China, on some stairs, with foliage near by. We almost stepped on it, and it reared up with it’s pincers.
Just curious what it is, everyone in China just told us to stay a way, it’s not a good bug.
Please enlighten us if possible.
Signature: Kathryn

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Dear Kathryn,
You have had an encounter with a Whipscorpion in the Arachnid order Uropygi, and while we hesitate to say it is perfectly harmless, you really don’t have too much to fear as they are generally shy, nocturnal hunters.  Unlike true Scorpions with venomous stings, Whipscorpions lack venom, however, they do have a rather unique means of defense.  According to an online article we found on SpringerLink, several genera from North America and East Asia:  “are known to use acetic acid and caprylic acid as a defense mechanism.”  This weak acetic acid, a component in vinegar, has led to the common name of Vinegaroon in North America.  Whipscorpions also have powerful mandibles, and they might bite if carelessly handled.

Letter 49 – Whipscorpion from Cambodia

 

Subject: Fearsome bug in Cambodia
Location: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
April 30, 2017 9:06 pm
I have seen this bug in my bathroom (both times it was I the bathroom)) acouple of times in my home in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The time of year is March and April. As it looks fearsome, I would like to know anything I can about it.
Signature: Al

Whipscorpion

Dear Al,
Despite its fearsome appearance, this Whipscorpion is harmless since it has no venom, however its mandibles might have been capable of biting prior to its untimely demise, which is why we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.  Whipscorpions are shy, nocturnal hunters that will help keep your bathroom and other rooms free of Cockroaches, Spider and Scorpions, and other unwanted visitors, which is why they are frequently tolerated in tropical countries.

Letter 50 – Whipscorpion from Indonesia

 

spider or scorpion?
I’m from indonesia, and i want to ask about the bug that i hv found. Its interesting me when the first i saw it, its likes a spider, and has a needle in the back of its tail, has 2 claws, 6 legs, and 1 pair antenna. Can you tell me what is it? Class of spider or scopion? And Sorry bout my bad english. I think i hv found a new bug!!

This is a harmless Whipscorpion, and it is magnificent.

Letter 51 – Whipscorpion from Thailand

 

Rescuing fish…!
Hello guys from a big fan ! Yes, a big hoorah for the best bug site on the net. Even though it’s largely New World orientated, the photos, the philosophy, the humour..oh, and the scientific accuracy are all first class, and searches usually point me in the right direction for Eurpoean and Asian examples, although you do deservedly have a world-wide audience. I’m glad to hear that you,ve been swamped over the summer because it means that people are out there are getting interested in the amazing variety to be found in the insect world, and also know the right people to contact with their discoveries. However, your popularity has prevented me from consulting your oracle during the summer, as I didn’t want to overburden you with my footling little problem, but ……ooh, I can’t contain my curiosity any longer. I spotted this little beauty on the 29th of May this year, and after looking all over the place, still can’t even work out if it’s an insect or a spider, or even something more resembling a prawn ! An interesting little story is behind my unearthing of ” Jaws ” , though, so here goes… On that day, I was staying at the house of friends in Rayong, Thailand, and it was an unbelievably hot morning, which built up to one of the many thunderstorms which we’d been having in the afternoons and evenings at the time. This time, though, we had a near-apocalyptic tropical downpour ( as opposed to a normal tropical downpour ), and water was just cascading off the roof in all directions, as the guttering was completely overwhelmed. At one point there came a great crash from the front yard which didn’t sound as if it came from the heavens, so we all peered out the front door to see what had happened. What we found was that a section of guttering at the front of the house had given way under the pressure of water and crashed down into the front yard on top of a huge, three-foot high earthenware bowl, which was, as is usual in Thai gardens, full of water lilies and fish. The huge pot shattered, of course, and the hapless fish were spewed out all over the already waterlogged front yard, flapping about and in imminent danger of being washed away, so we had to grab pans from the kitchen and run out into the cloudburst to try and scoop them up !! In the middle of the rescue operation, I found this very unfishlike thing floundering around as well, so scooped it up as well. Its body ( jaws head,thorax, abdomen ) is about the same length as my little finger, though obviously not so thick. I’m afraid it’s not such a good photo, and I’ll give the circumstances as my excuse, but it seems to have eight legs, although the extra ones may not be legs.. Also, it has a long “sting ” on it’s abdomen, at least the same length as the abdomen itself, possibly an ovipositor. Originally I had assumed that it had come out of the water jar along with the fish, and was therefore aquatic, but it’s posssible that it was just hanging around in the yard and got caught up in the all-pervading wetness !! My first thought was that it was a dragonfly nymph, quickly discounted, and then maybe a water-scorpion, but it doesn’t quite match that either, and I’m still not sure if it’s an insect or an arachnid, so……HELP !!! ( I let it go pretty quickly, as I didn’t fancy a nip from those mandibles, and yes, the fish are all doing fine !! )……Cheers
Graham Moore, Purmerend, Netherlands……..and quite often Rayong, Thailand.

Hi Graham,
This is a Whipscorpion. We found a near exact match on a crazy blog entitled Wesley in Thailand. We also posted another similar example from Thailand last year that met a nasty fate when it was discovered. Sorry we can’t provide an exact species.

Letter 52 – Whipscorpion, in London!!!!!

 

can you identify this please?
July 25, 2009
hi
this bug found in my kitchen in north London United Kingdom.
however have recently returned from central America / Caribean holiday.
for scale one picture contains a shaving razor handle.
thank you
john
j davey
london U.K

Whipscorpion
Whipscorpion

Dear j davey,
First off, this has to be the smallest digital file we have ever had sent to us.  Despite our feeble eyesight, we have no doubt that is is a Whipscorpion in the order Uropygi.  It is not native to England and it is found in the Caribbean.  It is also a nocturnal hunter that may take shelter in a suitcase or other dark place.  It would seem customs did not do a thorough search.  Whipscorpions are perfectly harmless to humans despite the fierce appearance as they have no venom.

thank you
yes, looks just like it
sorry about the size of the file, didn’t realise it was so small, it was taken using the camera on the phone.
thank you for your help
any idea of a good home for it?
john

We would recommend a local pet store that sells Tarantulas.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

18 thoughts on “Where Do Tailless Whip Scorpions Live: Exploring Their Natural Habitat”

  1. We have found 3 of these in our house the past week. I know they are “good” bugs but I certainly don’t like them in the house. Where should they be relocated to?

    Reply
  2. This is actually an arthropod called a false scorpion or a pseudoscorpion. It is not a whip scorpion (tailless or otherwise).

    They have the ability to spin webs which are often found under papers and books. They eat the larvae of moths so they are a helpful bug to find in your home. This causes them to also be referred to as “book scorpions”!

    Reply
  3. I concur. Pseudoscoprions typically are much smaller over all, or have much longer legs (depending on their habitat). In fact, the largest pseudoscorpion I’ve ever seen, personally, was smaller than my pinky nail.

    Reply
  4. I just wanted to point out that there are in fact different types of strained muscles…

    Intramuscular contusion

    This is when the muscle is torn within its protective sheath. Bleeding is limited to within the muscle, but pressure builds up because the fluid can’t escape.

    Intermuscular contusion

    This is when both the muscle and the sheath that surrounds it are torn. Blood can escape from the sheath so it’s easier for the bruising to come out and the injury to heal.

    Also, when left untreated with the commonly known method of PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) many pulled/strained muscles have the tendency to become worse in condition. If the poster plays sports often they should know this… Sorry I just think its highly unfair to blame an innocent creature when in all reality all the pain and bruising (that took longer to rise to the surface due to the type of pulled muscle, not a bite) is indeed their own doing. General rule of thumb, if there is swelling, when the swelling recedes you can pretty much guarantee there is gonna be a bruise. Also, with any bite that leaves a nickel size marking for each “fang” you can be pretty sure there would be some noticeable puncture wounds as well. The last time I was bit by a bug of any sort, which was a centipede, there were noticeable puncture wounds (though rather small). I also knew exactly when it bit me, because the bite itself was rather painful. Now I know that not every bite is initially painful, but for the most part they are. Okay I think I have said my piece… I do feel terrible that the innocent tailless whipscorpion met such an untimely death.

    Reply
  5. When I was a kid in the Mojave desert of California back in the 50s, I was told that if you were bitten by a vinegaroon, everything would taste like vinegar for six months. I don’t remember being afraid of ’em, but they’re certainly alarming looking, even for bug lovers.

    Thomas Eisner’s memoir of a life in entomology, For the Love of Insects, has a chapter on vinegaroons. Eisner was the great mavin on the chemical defenses used by insects and other terrestrial arthropods—he was also a wonderful writer.

    Reply
  6. When I was a kid in the Mojave desert of California back in the 50s, I was told that if you were bitten by a vinegaroon, everything would taste like vinegar for six months. I don’t remember being afraid of ’em, but they’re certainly alarming looking, even for bug lovers.

    Thomas Eisner’s memoir of a life in entomology, For the Love of Insects, has a chapter on vinegaroons. Eisner was the great mavin on the chemical defenses used by insects and other terrestrial arthropods—he was also a wonderful writer.

    Reply

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