Vinegaroons: Thelyphonida

Vinegaroons are often referred to as simply “whip scorpions” whereas the amblypigids (above) are referred to as “tailless whip scorpions.” They both have the whip-like antenniform legs, but vinegaroons also have a flagellum at the end of their abdomen. While they are non-venomous, they are capable of producing a chemical compound mainly comprised of acetic acid that they will spray from their abdomen; they will use their flagellum to direct this spray at any potential aggressors. It’s not harmful to us (acetic acid is the main compound in vinegar), but it can cause discomfort and irritation in small predators.

Thelyphonida Fun Fact! Most of the 120 known species of vinegaroons occur in tropical areas, with one notable exception: the North American Giant Vinegaroon, which is found in the arid southwest. However, a recent (2018) genetic analysis of the giant vinegaroon (Mastigoproctus giganteus) found that it is actually seven different species. Not only do these species show distinctly different physical characteristics, they each have a unique chemical makeup of their defensive spray.