Tailless Whip Scorpion

Common Name: Tailless whip scorpions, also known as whip spiders and Amblypygids

Type: invertebrate

Family: Phrynidae

Range: These Tailless scorpions range through Guatemala, and several parts of Costa Rica. Tailless whip scorpions live under loose tree bark, in cracks and at the base of tree trunks, or tree holes, canes and inside animal burrows. They are very common at night in Costa Rica.

Size: Whip spiders, or tailless whip scorpions, grow gigantic for bugs, sometimes in Costa Rica as much as 5-6 inches… big enough to scare most people!

Weight: It is light weight.

Diet: Tailless whip scorpions diets are Insects and worms.

Average life span: The average life span of Life is 2 to 3 years.

Habitat: Tailless whip scorpions live in various habitats like forest, scrub, desert in both temperate and tropical regions of the world. These are available all parts of Costa Rica and their national parks.

Breeding/Reproduction: Tailless whip scorpions parental care is tremendously fascinating. Males and females engage in a courtship dance that includes lots of touching and brief grabbing. The male courts the female with trembling movements of his extra long legs, guiding her to a sperm packet he has deposited. She inserts it into her reproductive opening. Six to sixty eggs are kept in a membranous sac underneath her abdomen until they hatch. Young stick to their mother’s abdomen for quite a few days after the birth. They are up until they molt and go away their mother’s care, baby Tailless whip scorpions are normally white.

Tailless Whip Scorpions or Amblypygi are sometimes called whip spiders. “Amblypygid” which means “blunt rump”, is associated with them having no tail. Tailless Whip Scorpions are unique as they have six walking legs, whereas other Scorpions have eight legs. The reason for this is that amblypygids’ first “ancestral” walking legs have been tailored into sensory organs. These long sensory feelers could be twice in length of the body and are utilized to look for the environment. Because amblypygids are active in situations where there are less light, these tailored legs are extremely important to them for sensing their surroundings. They do not have the ability to produce silk and do not have venom glands.

They are located in tropical and subtropical areas. A number of their species are subversive, hiding under logs, bark, stones and leaves. As they are mostly nocturnes, many of them are active during night time. These arachnids like humid environments. Tailless Whip scorpions are very common at night in Costa Rica.

Presently there are 5 families, 17 genera and 136 species of amblypigids are available around the globe in humid and subtropical type of weathers.

These arachnids may grow up to 30cm in length. Like any other scorpion, they have a strong carapace and segmented bodies. Another feature of Tailless Whip Scorpions is their body is widespread and flat. They have two eyes in the middle and six more at the rear of those. Also their pedipalps, the pincer-looking appendages they use for gripping preys, are big. The twofront legs are very thin and can extend forward that are used for sensory purposes. The remaining six legs are used for walking. They don’t have silk glands or poisonous fangs.

Tailless Whip Scorpions usually walk sideways with only using six legs. Their so-called whip points to the direction they are headed so they can detect any prey they might encounter. Then if one appears, they capture it with their pedipalps and chewed with their chelicerae.

The courting ritual between male and female Amblypygi is when the male deposits their spermatophores on the ground and then guides the female to them with the use of their pedipalps. She then picks them up and put them into her sacs under her abdomen. When the eggs hatch, the young will then now climb her back. Any of her little ones fall of before she moults, she eats them.

Research showed that Amblypygids communicate with their young by the use of their front pair of legs. The little creatures will also respond to their mom and siblings.

Amblypygids typical diets are arthropods such as crickets, katydids, harvestmen, spiders, millipedes, roaches, and moths.

Despite their terrifying appearance, Tailless Whip scorpions are entirely harmless to humans. Very little is known about Tailless whip scorpions. There are probably only about a dozen people in the world that are actively researching any aspect of their lives.

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