Tailless Whip Scorpion

Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo


In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Damon variegatus
Class: Arachnid
Order: Amblypygii
Family: Phrynidae
Genus: Damon




Length: .3-2 inches .3-2 inches
Maturity: 12-15 months 12-15 months

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Carnivorous
Activity Timeframe: Nocturnal
Interactivity: Solitary
Sexual Dimorphism: Yes
Gestation: 3 months
Lifespan in the Wild:
Lifespan in Captivity:

Geographic Range

Tropical and sub-tropical regions across the world. D. variegatus lives in Tanzania and Kenya.


Status in the Wild:


Although arachnids, Tailless Whip Scorpions (sometimes called whip spiders) are neither spider nor scorpion but resemble a cross between the two. As the name implies, they have no tail and the first pair of legs which can stretch to as much as 10 inches act as whip-like sensory organs. The foremost body section, or cephalothorax, has a shell-like covering and is wider than it is long. They have eight legs and there is one pair of eyes at the front of the cephalothorax and three pairs of eyes on the sides. Their flat, oval-shaped bodies measure .3 to 2 inches, depending on species.

Species Specifics

D.variegatus is also known as the Tanzanian Giant Tailless Whip Scorpion, since it can measure 8 inches with legs spread.

Physical Characteristics

Tailless Whip Scorpions have 1 pair of elongated, front legs that are used for picking up on chemical cues in their environment. This helps them to orient themselves, and aids in finding prey. Their flattened body shape allows them to hide from predators between crevices.



Tailless Whip Scorpions can be found in a variety of habitats, from rainforests to deserts, as long as they can find a refuge in which to live. A refuge is typically a small protected area that can accommodate their flat bodies, such as a crack in a cave wall, the buttress of a tree, or the underside of rocks and logs.



This creature eats arthropods (mostly roaches and crickets), spiders, scorpions, and even other amblypygids.

Ecological Web

Tailless whip scorpions serve as predators to a variety of arthropods. They also serve as prey to many lizards, scorpions, and small mammals.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern


Social Behavior

Amblypygids tend to be territorial, and will fight to defend their space. However, some species have been found to be social within their family groups, living in close proximity to one another.

Reproductive Behavior

The male courts the female by vibrating his elongated front legs, jerking movements, and petting with hair like bristles. The male then deposits a sperm packet onto the ground, and the female inserts it into her reproductive opening. Six to sixty eggs are kept in a membranous sac underneath her abdomen until they hatch. Young are carried on their mother's back until their second molt, after which they scatter and live independently


Six to sixty eggs are kept in a membranous sac underneath her abdomen until they hatch.




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Fascinating Facts

In the movie, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Professor Moody used one of these to practice his "Unforgivable Curses." The movie suggests that even one bite from this animal could kill. However, this "scorpion" has no venom and is harmless to humans. They can pinch in defense however.


Rayor, Linda. “Social Behavior in Amblypygids.” Rayor Lab, Cornell University, blogs.cornell.edu/rayor/amblypygids/. Accessed 31 Aug. 2017.

Chapin, Kenneth J, and Eileen A Hebets. “The Behavioral Ecology of Amblypygids.” Digital Commons, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, 2016, digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=bioscihebets. Accessed 31 Aug. 2017.

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