The Amblypygi, or Whip Spider, a Little-Known Arachnid.
The Arachnids An Ancient Family of CreaturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
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?