The tailed Whipscorpions belong to the Order Uropygi which contains around 85 species worldwide. Only a few species are found in the United States, the largest being the giant Vinegaroons, Mastigoproctus giganteus, found in the Southwestern states. These arthropods have pedipalps enlarged into pincers although they are not as enlarged as those of scorpions.
The key identifying character is the long, thread-like segmented tail extending from the end of the abdomen. This tail is incapable of stinging, but the giant Vinegaroons aims a vinegar-scented mist from a gland at the base of its abdomen when disturbed. The spray contains acetic acid and another substance that attacks the exoskeleton of other arthropods.
Vinegaroons burrow into sand or under logs and can be found occasionally under logs, stones and other debris around buildings. They hunt their prey at night, relying on touch to find it. Once found, the prey is returned to the burrow before it is eaten. The female vinegaroon carries 20-35 eggs in a membranous sac under her abdomen, and after hatching, the young ride about on their mother's back until their first molt.
Vinegaroons are beneficial creatures and should be left undisturbed when found. Should one enter a structure, it should be captured and released outside.
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