A tail-less whip scorpion


A tail-less whip scorpion

Phrynus pulchripes

Trinidad

Z.2008.44.11

 The ‘whips’ of tail-less whip scorpions or whip spiders are a pair of very long specialised legs that they use like antennae. They are useful for feeling and sniffing their way around and finding food and mates. These delicate legs are often damaged but can grow back when the animal moults, shedding their old skin and forming a new one.

Where can you see them? These medium-large whip scorpions are found in South America in Venezuela, Columbia and on the Caribbean Islands of Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba and Trinidad. This particular one was found under the bark of a rotten tree in the rainforest. They are also found in hollow logs, in caves, under stones and even under coconut husks on the beach.

What do they eat? They eat other ground dwelling invertebrates. They are often found along with centipedes, cockroaches and small scorpions. They hunt by night. They don’t have a sting like a real scorpion or silk like spiders to catch other animals. They rely on their grasping, spiny legs to grab hold of their dinner, which they mash up with their mouth parts before they eat it.

Another tail-less whip scorpion: