Whip Scorpions (Uropygi)

So called because of the filamentous, whip-like flagellum at the end of the opisthosoma. Ranging in size from 2mm up to 70mm, whip scorpions are fierce hunters that prefer humid environments. During the day they hide away beneath bark, stones, leaves etc. At night they use their powerful, pincer-action pedipalps to capture and tear their prey to shreds, prior to digestive juices being poured over it. Although they have two small eyes, whip scorpions rely on their first pair of legs to help feel their way around. These are thin and long, forming antennae-like structures, and do not take part in walking. Walking is achieved using the other three pairs of legs.

If frightened, some whip scorpions eject a stream of vinegar-smelling fluid, acetic acid from special anal glands, which has given rise to one of their other names: Vinegaroon. As with other arachnids, sex can be curious, at least to us. Like scorpions, they perform a courtship dance with the male grasping the female's long, sensory, first pair of legs. A fertilised female hides away in a retreat and produces seven to 35 large eggs that remain attached to her genital opening, as in false-scorpions. In the Schizomids, she keeps with her young until they have moulted several times then dies soon after they have left her.

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