Just to be perfectly clear, I am a certified arachnophobic. If it has eight legs and and an exoskeleton, I’m outta there. Yuck. That includes lobsters and crabs (though I do give crabs a small measure of latitude, being my astrological sign and all).
But in my search for an interesting topic of today’s A to Z Challenge post, I happened across the word: vinegaroon. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll probably understand why this word stopped me in my tracks and caused me to further investigate.
I’d never heard the word before. Had no idea what I was going to find. Imagine my disgusted surprise to discover that such a cool sounding word belongs to a scorpion. Now there’s the stuff of nightmares!
The vinegaroon (also spelled vinegarroon) is a type of whip scorpion that emits a vinegar-like mist (mostly acetic acid) and is not a true scorpion at all. Not that that matters – there’s still the eight leg/exoskeleton thing going on. In the creepy little guy’s favour is the small fact that it is not venomous. Its long tail is a sensory organ and does not have a stinger, which is what distinguishes it from a true scorpion. It is a nocturnal carnivore that dines on bugs and have a particular fondness for crickets. The large pincers are used to catch prey and tidy up its living quarters. And it’s big. Like 4 inches long. (Might as well be 4 feet!) Home is in southern USA (scratching that area of the world off my bucket list).
Now that I’m as thoroughly educated on these critters as I ever care to be – not to mention a little grossed out – I shall now leave you with these images of vinegaroons: