Tailless Whipscorpion, any of a group of spider-like
arachnids known for their long, whip-like front legs. Also known as whip
spiders or amblypygids, tailless whipscorpions are neither true
scorpions nor true spiders, but resemble a cross between the two.
Habitat: They live in humid tropical
and subtropical habitats, hiding under leaf litter and debris by day and
emerging to hunt at night. A few species dwell in caves, and some
species are common in houses. There are about 70 known species of
The body of most tailless whipscorpions is less than 5 cm (2 in)
long, but the front pair of legs is extremely long, up to 25 cm (10 in).
The cephalothorax, or front body section, is covered by a carapace
(shell-like covering) and is wider than it is long. The tailless
whipscorpion has one pair of eyes toward the front of the cephalothorax
and three pairs of eyes on the sides. The tailless whipscorpion walks
sideways with these legs leading the way.
Prey: Tailless Whipscorpions hunt at
night. Its pedipalps, or leg-like mouthparts, are stout and spiny and
are used to capture and hold insect prey while it is torn apart by the
chelicerae, or fangs. The long, feeler-like front legs are important
sensory organs for hunting and orientation at night.
Venom: Tailless whipscorpions are not
venomous and are harmless to humans. They breathe through two pairs of
layered lungs, known as book lungs, located within the abdomen (see
Breeding: The male tailless
whipscorpion courts the female with trembling movements of his long
first pair of legs. He deposits a spermatophore, or sperm packet, and
guides the female over it with his pedipalps or with his front legs. She
then inserts it into her sex duct. She broods 6 to 60 eggs in a
membranous sac until they have hatched and then carries the young on her
back until their second molt.
Tailless whipscorpions make up the order Amblypygi, class Arachnida,
phylum Arthropoda. As arachnids, their relatives include true spiders,
true scorpions, and the ticks and mites. Tailless whipscorpions should
not be confused with whipscorpions (vinegaroons), more elongate
arachnids with a whiplike tail, nor should they be confused with the
windscorpions (solpugids), which have enlarged chelicerae.
and pictures were taken from children's projects and where credited to that
child does not claim to be original information. Where possible, permission
to reproduce has been sought. Any infringement of copyright is purely
unintentional. photo Jo Brundall.
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