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Giant Vinegaroon :


The Vinegarroon (also spelled Vinegaroon), Mastigoproctus giganteus, is a type of Whip Scorpion, an arachnid that emits a vinegar-like mist (containing mostly acetic acid). The Vinegarroon is not venomous and is not a true scorpion. It is related to spiders, true scorpions, and ticks. Classification: Class Arachnida (arachnids) , Order Uropygi (containing about 100 species of Whip Scorpions).


Vinegarroons are invertebrates that are found in the southern USA and in Mexico. Other Whip Scorpions are found in India, Japan, and New Guinea.


Diet: Vinegarroons are carnivores (meat-eaters) that hunt at night (they are nocturnal). They use their powerful pincers to catch prey. During the day, Vinegarroons hide under leaves or rocks.

Anatomy: Whip Scorpions have four pairs of legs and a hard, protective exoskeleton. There are two organs near the base of the tail that produce a vinegar-like mist which the Whip Scorpion emits when it is irritated. The long, whip-like tail is used as a sensory organ and does not have a stinger (unlike truescorpions, which have a stinger at the tip of the segmented tail).

Slow motion whip scorpion spraying vinegar

Introduction :


The only whip scorpion found in the United States is the giant whip scorpion, Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Lucas). The giant whip scorpion is also known as the 'vinegaroon' or 'grampus' in some local regions where they occur. To encounter a giant whip scorpion for the first time can be an alarming experience! What seems like a miniature monster from a horror movie is really a fairly benign creature. While called a scorpion, this arachnid has neither the venom-filled stinger found in scorpions nor the venomous bite found in some spiders.

Figure 1. The giant whip scorpion or 'vingaroon,' Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus(Lucas). Photograph by R. Mitchell, University of Florida.



Thelyphonus giganteus Lucas 1835
Thelyphonus excubitor Girard 1854
Thelyphonus rufus Butler 1872
Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus Lonnberg 1879


Distribution :



Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus is the only whip scorpion found in the United States. This subspecies occurs in Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and in Mexico. Two other subspecies, Mastigoproctus giganteus mexicanus (Lucas, 1835) and Mastigoproctus giganteus scabrosus (Lucas, 1835) are confined to portions of Mexico.


As a group, whip scorpions are found worldwide in the tropics and subtropics. While more commonly encountered in arid areas, Mastigoproctus giganteus can also be found in grassland, scrub, pine forests and barrier islands.

Description :


This is a fairly large creature, up to 5 cm long, which does not include the caudal flagellum or telson. Large pedipalps (pincer-like appendages) help whip scorpions catch and kill their prey by crushing them. Mishandled, these pedipalps can give a noticeable pinch. A pair of long, thin, front legs acts almost like antennae as they feel about for their prey in the dark. The whip-like telson also functions as a sensory organ. These three structures apparently help compensate for their eight weak eyes.

Table 2. Measurements of 10 representative females and one male Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Muma 1968).
The telson or caudal flagellum was extremely variable due to breakage, but some had a telson longer than the total body length.

Table 3. Measurements of 3 Riker mount specimens of Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus by this author.

Figure 2. Dorsal view and anatomical features of the giant whip scorpion or 'vingaroon,'Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Lucas). Photograph by W.H. Kern, University of Florida.


Figure 3. Ventral view of the giant whip scorpion or 'vingaroon,' Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Lucas). Photograph by W.H. Kern, University of Florida.

Figure 2. Dorsal view and anatomical features of the giant whip scorpion or 'vingaroon,'Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Lucas). Photograph by W.H. Kern, University of Florida.

Figure 4. Close up view of the prosoma (cephalothorax) of the giant whip scorpion or 'vingaroon,' Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Lucas). Photograph by W.H. Kern, University of Florida.

Life History and Habitat :


Whip scorpions are nocturnal predators of other arthropods. During the day they remain out of sight in burrows they dig with their pedipalps. They can often be found under logs, boards, rotting wood, rocks, and other natural dark places. Most whip scorpions occur in moist or seasonally moist forested habitats in tropical or subtropical environments. Mastigoproctus giganteus occur in more arid habitats with well drained soil. They spend the driest periods underground and become active on the surface during Florida's rainy season (May/June-November).


The primary prey of Mastigoproctus giganteus are soft bodied insects like termites, cockroaches, and crickets. One of the common prey of adults in Florida is the Florida woods roach, Eurycotis floridensis. Live food such as crickets and roaches are crushed between special teeth on the inside of the second segment of the pedipalps.


When threatened, vinegaroons seek the refuge of their burrows or put on a bluff display of rearing up and spreading their pedipalps. They can also accurately spray acetic acid from a pore at the base of the caudal filament out to a distance of from a few inches to one foot. This defensive spray is not dangerous to skin but stings severely if it gets into an animal's eyes or nostrils.

Facts about Whip scorpions :


courtesy to :


(so-called because they do not have a whip and they’re not scorpions Otherwise the description is perfectly accurate).

  • The Vinegarroon, also spelled Vinegaroon, Mastigoproctus giganteus, is a type of Whip Scorpion, an arachnid that emits a vinegar-like mist containing mostly acetic acid. (Useful to carry with you on picnics, with the olive oil). The Vinegarroon is not venomous and is not a true scorpion. It is related to spiders, true scorpions, and ticks.

  • Vinegarroons are carnivores  that hunt at night. They use their powerful pincers to catch prey. During the day, Vinegarroons hide under leaves or rocks.

  • The long, whip-like tail is used as a sensory organ and does not have a stinger (unlike true scorpions, which have a stinger at the tip of the segmented tail).

  • In captivity they tend to be very aggressive to one another and it is only possible to keep them in individual cages.

  • The common Thai name for them means ‘stinking scorpion’.

  • Whip Scorpions range in size from 25 to 70mm in length,

  • They use their long thin front legs as feelers, in much the same way that insects use their antennae.

  • Whip Scorpions are purely nocturnal hunters feeding mostly on insects such as cockroaches and grasshoppers, though they also eat worms and slugs. The prey is siezed between the two pedipalps and crushed between special teeth on the inside of the trochanters (the second segment of the leg) of the front legs. The large American Mastigoproctus giganteus carries its prey back to its burrow to eat and has been known to feed on small frogs and toads.

  • After mating, the pregnant female digs a special burrow with a large area at the end. When the eggs hatch, the young are white and look nothing like their mother. They attach themselves to their mother by special suckers. After a while, however, they molt and look like miniature whip scorpions. They are slow-growing and molt three times over a period of about three years.


Figure 5. The giant whip scorpion or 'vingaroon,' Mastigoproctus giganteus giganteus (Lucas), displaying defensive stance with spread pedipalps. Photograph by R. Mitchell, University of Florida.

Fairly long-lived, whip scorpions can live at least seven years. They grow slowly, molting three times in about three years. Once becoming adults, they live up to another four years.


Mating takes place in the fall. A complex mating ritual lasts eight to 12 hours. The male secretes and transfers a sperm sac (spermatophore) into the female. She carries the eggs internally for several months and then lays 30 to 40 eggs in a fluid filled sac held under her abdomen. She remains in her burrow holding the egg sac off the ground for an additional two months. The mucous membrane helps preserve moisture, allowing the eggs to develop. The young are white in color when they hatch from the eggs and then climb onto their mother's back for about one month. Once the first molt is complete the second instar young look like miniatures of the adults. At this point, they leave their mother's burrow. The mother whip scorpion, completing her life cycle, dies soon after. ImmatureMastigoproctus giganteus take a year between each of the next three molts.

Natural Enemies :


Mastigoproctus giganteus is large enough to be a reasonable meal for mammals like raccoons, coatis, armadillos, skunks, and even bear, feral hogs and peccaries.

Selected References:


  • BugGuide. (September 2009). Species Mastigoproctus giganteus - Giant Vinegaroon. (21 OCtober 2010).

  • Drees BM, Jackman J. (1999). Vinegaroon. A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects. (21 October 2010).

  • Fox R. (June 2006). Thelyphonus © - Whip Scorpion. Invertebrate Anatomy OnLine. (21 October 2010).

  • Harvey MS. 2003. Catalogue of the Smaller Arachnid Orders of the World: Amblypygi, Uropygi, Schizomida, Palpigradi, Ricinulei and Solifugae. CSIRO Publishing. 400 pp.

  • McMonigle O. 2008. Whipscorpions and Whipspiders: Culturing Gentle Monsters. Elytra & Antenna Publishing. 40 pp.

  • Muma MH. 1967. Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas Volume 4; Scorpions, Whip Scorpions and Wind Scorpions of Florida. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industries, Gainesville, FL. 28 pp.



vinegaroon scorpion as a pet





6 Vinegarroon Scorpion Facts & Care Tips

The Giant vinegaroon is an insect commonly found in the south and south-eastern United States and in northern Mexico. Their natural habitat is either in humid marshes and woodlands, or in arid deserts or woodlands. Giant vinegaroons are also known as Whipscorpions, Desert whipscorpions, Grampus, and the Giant Vinegarone. Giant vinegaroons get their name from the vinegar-like substance they excrete when they are threatened.


Giant vinegaroons are one of the most docile insects that are commonly sold as pets and are an excellent choice for a novice insect owner. However, they are not good pets for children. Like all insects, they are not pets that enjoy being handled excessively and can become stressed if constantly disturbed. A stressed Giant vinegaroon will secrete a very odorous vinegar-like substance that can cause chemical burns on some people. Constant stress can also cause the insect to become ill and may bring about pre-mature death. Giant vinegaroon also have strong pinches that they will use to defend themselves if needed. The Giant vinegaroon is nocturnal in nature, and is rarely seen during the day.


Creating a comfortable habitat for a Giant vinegaroon can be difficult as they require a set amount of heat and humidity. Giant vinegaroons require a 20 square foot aquarium, with depth and length being more important than height. The bottom of the tank should be covered in 4-6 inches of peat soil or potting soil, so the vinegaroon can burrow into it. The tank should also include pieces of bark, flat rocks, small flower pots or commercially made reptile hides for the vinegaroon to hide in. Giant vinegaroons require temperatures of 75 to 85 Fahrenheit, with a 75 to 85 percent humidity. Giant vinegaroons are nocturnal and prefer longer periods of dark than light.


Appearance and Care:
Giant vinegaroons are strange looking insects with a long whip-like tails and two thin long front legs. As adults they measure about 7 inches long and have black-grey exoskeletons and white tails.


Giant vinegaroons are insectivores, eating a variety of worms and small insects. Most Giant vinegaroons like to eat waxworms, earthworms, both pinhead crickets and adult crickets, small roaches, and even small beetles. Giant vinegaroons should also be supplied with a shallow dish of water; the water dish should be shallow so the vinegaroon does not drown.


Giant vinegaroons are very hardy and when well cared for usually live for around seven years. Giant vinegaroons are rarely affected by disease; however, they should be given vitamins to help keep them healthy.



Giant Vinegaroon


courtesy to : www.


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