Tailless Whip Scorpion

Children's Zoo

Location

In the Zoo
Size
Male
Female
Height:
Length:
.3-2 inches
.3-2 inches
Weight
1-2 pounds
Maturity:
12-15 months
12-15 months

Geographic Range

Tropical and subtropical regions across the world. D. variegatus lives in Tanzania and Kenya.

Scientific Information

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

Lifestyle and Lifespan

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

Conservation

Status:
Threats:

Characteristics

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 0.3 to 2 inches, depending on the 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.

Ecology

Habitat

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.

Distribution

Habitats: Found mostly in the Eastern United States, Box Turtles occur as far north as Michigan and Maine, South to Florida, and as far West as Texas and Kansas. Found rarely above 1,000 feet in elevation, preferring low land habitats where water collects. Commonly associated with deciduous forests having high leaf litter and moisture these turtles are often located near rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and other bodies of fresh water, however, they are not good swimmers.

Diet

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

Like most reptiles, activity is temperature dependent, preferring conditions that are moist, humid, and warm. Ideal temperature is 80-95°F and they are more active during rainy periods and immediately after it has rained. During drought, turtles may spend time in burrows and in excessive heat turtles will seek out shallow pools of water to soak in. In fall months turtles are observed basking in the sunlight for energy. In Northern climates turtles will enter hibernation in late October. In places like Florida, turtles are active year around.

Behavior

The gecko will lick its eye to clean it from dust and other particles.

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

Offspring

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

Conservation

Status

Three-Toed Box Turtles are not considered endangered at the national level in the United States, Canada or Mexico, although several U.S. states, including Michigan, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, list T. carolina as a species of special concern. It is considered endangered in Maine. IUCN: VulnerableCITES: Appendix II

Historical

Due to a widespread, consistent and persistent decline of the species, the ICUN considers the Box Turtle to be a Vulnerable Species. The decline is associated with anthropogenic causes, or manmade causes centering on urbanization. Agricultural use of pesticides within a shared water shed has negatively impacted young turtle survivability due to malformed eggs. Introduction of synanthopic predator species, (species who live near and benefit mutually from human settlement and urban habitats) such as ravens, coyotes and raccoons, are increasing in numbers as humans continue to urbanize.

Current Threats

Introduced Non-Native, Domestic, and Invasive Species

Our Role

No items found.

How You Can Help

Please be aware of the pets you choose to buy. Never get a pet that has been taken from the wild and never return a pet to the wild. Be aware of pesticide applications so as to not poison native animals that benefit your ecosystem. Finally, be conscious of your trash and waste so as to not attract unwanted animals such as ravens.

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.

The Iriquois and other Native Americans used them for food, medical, ceremonial, burial and hunting purposes.

Of all the Gerrhosaururidae lizards (Plated lizards) they are the most armored.

References

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.