|Image via Wikipedia|
Whip Scorpions, also known oddly as Vinegaroons, are indeed arachnids with thick, hefty bodies. Most of them are 3 cm (1.2 in) long or a bit under, but the biggest ones can reach 8.5 cm (3.3 in). They have their 8 legs but, just like our very own Camel Spider, they only use 6 of them to walk. The first pair are longer and thinner than the rest and used as antennae. Weird how they looked at those Camel Spiders and thought "good idea", yet the most famous arachnids - spiders and scorpions - haven't felt the need.
|Image by Dolor Ipsum via Flickr|
But check out those claws! Whip Scorpion palps have become powerful, crushing claws. Without venom or indeed webs, they've had to rely on brute strength to overcome their prey. Those things are incredibly impressive! It looks like they are flexing their biceps. Biceps tend to be less spiky though.
With these they can grapple with small insect and millipede prey, though the bigger ones can also catch small vertebrates. Unfortunately, I've had to grow to accept that there are quite a few creatures with exoskeletons and no backbone that eat things that DO have a backbone. I don't like it, but there it is.
Whatever the prey, the Whip Scorpion simply grabs it and crushes and mushes it in those formidable pincers. Ouch! It then takes it to a dark, humid burrow to feast in peace.
Like the Scorpion, the Whip Scorpion cares for her eggs and carries her young on her back. There will be about 35 of them at most. The mother dies after her children go through their first moult and fly the nest. I think she should consider enjoying her retirement, but that might just be my backbone talking.
Young Whip Scorpions take about 3 years to reach adulthood, after which they have about 4 more years of life left in them. Face it, when it comes to having children, looking after them and simply taking aaaaaages to become an adult, you have a lot more in common with a Whip Scorpion than you do a pretty butterfly or whatever. That too is something we will all have to accept.