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The Amblypygi, or Whip Spider, a Little-Known Arachnid.

Updated on August 30, 2011

The Arachnids An Ancient Family of Creatures

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The Amblypygi (Known as a Whip Spider, but not a true spider)The Vinegaroon (Imitates a  true scorpion)
The Amblypygi (Known as a Whip Spider, but not a true spider)
The Amblypygi (Known as a Whip Spider, but not a true spider)
The Vinegaroon (Imitates a  true scorpion)
The Vinegaroon (Imitates a true scorpion)

The Whip Spider has no Venom Glands.

To paraphrase the non-pc old saw about a certain nationality and bastards, it is equally true to say "All spiders and scorpions are arachnids, but not all arachnids are spiders and scorpions." In fact there are quite a few species of arachnids that aren't spiders, etc. (Such as Chiggers, for example).

We have a program on TV in the UK which may be available in the US called the "Deadly 60." In this often asinine "documentary," the presenter. Steve Backshall, visits different locations throughout the planet where he identifies creatures which he puts on his list of the "Deadly 60," depending on their danger and predation to other creatures, including man, in their world.

Using the program's yardstick on being deadly, the farmyard chicken belongs there due to its overwhelming predation of all insect species, the Blackbird, foe of the Earthworm, and the locust for obvious reasons.

The latest segment visited the Philippines, which moved me to write this hub after watching the ill-informed, sensation mongering Backshall allowing Whip Spiders to walk on his arm, and emitting a shriek when one ran up to his shoulder as if the subject was truly deadly - such as a Sydney Funnel Web Spider, or a Bark Scorpion. This may have given pause to millions of female viewers fixated on the rugged Backshall's pecs and/or lunchbox; seeing him girlishly mewling over a little non-venomous arachnid.

Amblypygi - also called Whip Spiders or Tailless Whip Scorpions - may be hell on wheels to aphids and other small prey, but they have no venomous fangs and use the rather formidable Pedipalps (pincers) to grab their prey: they are absolutely harmless to man and they could run all over you all day without the ability to do you harm. In fact, as there was no evidence put forward to viewers of what these curious arachnids do prey upon, there was no reason to put them on anyone's list of deadly creatures, causing people to fear these fragile creatures and step on them in panic.

We discover and catalogue more and more species of insect and arachnidae constantly. We now record more than 155 species of these chaps, found in all the world's tropical regions, in caves and above ground.

Tidy creatures, their live young scramble on mum's back while they mature; those slipping off get promptly eaten by mum! Perhaps that was Backshalls problem, an unhappy childhood.

The have 5 eyes in total, two in front and three further back on the carapace.

They look more like ghost crabs than arachnids with their large "claws,"

There is no doubting Backshall's bravery in handling truly dangerous creatures (such as the mild-mannered but highly venomous Pink-Lipped Krait in the same program). But he does some pretty silly things as well, (such as getting close enough to kiss a large Monitor Lizard capable of tearing half his face off with a really nasty, festering, bite).

I think we have too many of these sensational animal programs and we can only imagine all the hokey-pokery going on off camera.

Backshall will have armed men standing by and no doubt full medical facilities in case of (what must have been several) accidents. Anyone else chucking a Krait under the chin or fox-trotting with a Green Anaconda (he was nearly strangled!) might not be so lucky.

Meanwhile, the pitifully few people who read this article, in contrast to the Deadly 60's millions of viewers, will at least know not to fear the little Whip Spiders.

Note: There is a family of true scorpions called Whip Scorpions, and another archnid resembling true scorpions, the Vinegaroon, which is also harmless, but should not be confused with Amblypygi. (Latin for the “piggie that ambles!). Would I lie?


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      How did I miss this great article? Well, I'm here now and better informed as a result. Very interesting.

      I think it's good to know what creatures are truly poisonous and which are not so that in the event one is driving down the freeway at 80 mph or so and one of these creatures appears on the seat next to one or hanging from the rearview mirror on or the visor, one doesn't lose their sanity and wreck the car and kill a dozen or so other motorists in the process.

      After all, if it's not poisonous, then why get so excited, right? Just calmly pull over to the side of the road when it's safe to do that and throw it out the window -- away from the road where it might be run over, of course.

      Very informative hub. I always like articles where I can learn something. Hope all is well there. Sorry to be so slow in responding, but I'm back at work and the heat is killing me. Not a bit of energy left when I get home and in repose by 7 PM or so, back up at 4:30 AM and back at it. Weekends are HP time it would seem.

      Hope you are well Bobby. I never wish you anything but the very best of all your heart can hold. Take care . . xx

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hiya Trish: Nice of you to find and comment on this old article. I miss publishing on HP but I just ran out of gas for a while. I heard Kimble etc are providing more opportunities.

      Bob x

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 4 years ago from The English Midlands

      HI Bob :)

      Spiders! They really give me the creeps. I stroked a tarantula, once, hoping that it might cure my phobia ~ but, ugh, it was horrible :)


      PS. I might put my longer items elsewhere in due course.

      I'm experimenting with Kindle Publishing Direct at present :)

      All the best!

    • profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago

      Thanks for letting me know, Paddyboy

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      Fine read. I enjoyed it.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hanna. You're never more than 10 feet from an arachnid! Enjoy! Bob

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting and detailed information as all of your hubs, Bob, but for myself, I keep well away from any spiders. lol

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi cathylynn...and you, thanks for visit Bob

      Hi Ghost. Sorry to hear that...I guess a bite by any name itches just as bad! Bob

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Now, see, you just had to remind me that chiggers are arachnids, didn't you? Which means that in this year 2011, in the more or less tail end of Arizona's monsoon rain days that produced a veritable explosion of new vegetation on our property, I'm covered waist-to-heel with ARACHNID bites.

      Dang. Sounded better when I just thought they were chiggers! LOL!

      Voted Up and Other Stuff.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      leave it to you to come to the aid of a falsely maligned fellow creature. good to hear from you.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Peter: Yes, it's running for president.

      Sorry, Will, I got some false info from a source. You are right, the Vinegaroon is another arachnid that is not a true scorpion, I will ammend. I remember that story...Bob

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Cool Hub!

      We have vinegaroons in Arizona, but they are not true scorpions and are harmless.

      In fact, one of my short stories is titled 'Vinegarroon':

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      It will be in in the states next week I'm sure.