Oct 1, 2008

Pedipalp and Cephalothorax

Lee asked me to post on the vinegaroon, and I aim to please.

This is actually one arachnid that I've had some personal experience with. I *almost* handled one when the pet store owner brought it out. But I declined when my arachnophobia seized control of my cognitive functions. Why are they called vinegaroons? Because their defensive spray smells exactly like vinegar (chemically speaking, the spray is vinegar - acetic acid). 

This largely harmless (to people) variety of whipscorpion has some impressive pedipalps. So impressive, in fact, that they function as full-on pincers, leaving the first set of this arachnid's legs to function as thin, whip-like feelers.

Photo credit: Vasiliy Loskutov

In researching the vinegaroon, I discovered a new word: cephalothorax. This is the part of the body of an arthropod that includes both the head and thorax (mid section) of its exoskeleton. I have a neckless uncle who I would consider to have a cephalothorax.

This lady to the left is gravid, and she's toting her most recent egg sac. Her name is Broken, and her proud owner could not be happier.

Thanks for the photos, Vasiliy and Matt.


Island Bookworm said...

Harmless? Does psychological abuse count? :S

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that last pic is awesome. Neat animals, but I would decline to hold one too.

Anonymous said...

Had one of these in the Hereford house about 5 years ago. Had a great time playing with it, trapped it under a clear plastic deli container (the same kind used for the Huntsman spider, as a matter of fact). Had to throw the vinegarized container out when we let the scorpion go free.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if an oilaroon exists. You could terrify unwelcome dinner guests by exciting both over their salad.