Giant Vinegaroon (Mastigoproctus giganteus)
Giant Vinegaroons are also known as Whip Scorpions. Vinegaroons are nocturnal. They have 8 eyes (2
in middle, 3 on each side of head) but are known to have poor vision and rely on sensing vibrations to locate their prey (which doesn’t include mules!). Although these remarkable invertebrates are not true scorpions and lack venom, they get their name from their ability to spray acetic acid (concentrated vinegar) at attackers up to two feet away! This potent, vinegar solution can burn a potential predator’s eyes, nose and mouth – giving the vinegaroon a chance to escape…to hunt for its own invertebrate prey! Look for them, along with their insect and spider relatives, in an exhibit at the entrance to the New England Farmyard.
The Giant Vinegaroon is brown to black in color. It is a species of whip scorpion. They have long whip-like tails that do not sting at all. Vinegaroons have heavy mouthparts that are formed into pincers. The first pair of legs is long and thin and is used like antenna to feel their way around. The next three pairs of legs are used for walking. They can grow up to 6 inches, including front legs and whip-tail.
Giant Vinegaroons are found outdoors in loose soil, leaf litter, under logs and rotting wood, and indoors in humid moist corners.
The Southern and Southwestern United States.
Small insects, worms and slugs.
Males up to 10 years. Females up to 20 years.
Male Giant Vinegaroons deposit a spermatophore. Females pick up the spermatophore which they use to fertilize their eggs. The eggs are carried in a sac by the female. The colorless, offspring “not-so” Giant Vinegaroons ride on mom’s back until their first molt, when they venture out on their own.
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