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Giant Vinegarone (Mastigoproctus giganteus)

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Order: Uropygi
Family: Thelyphonidae
Genus: Mastigoproctus
Species: giganteus

Profile:

7 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Regional...

This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Hereford, Arizona (2 reports)
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Apopka, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Carlsbad, New Mexico (2 reports)
Hobbs, New Mexico
El Paso, Texas (2 reports)
Lubbock, Texas

By kakiana
Thumbnail #1 of Giant Vinegarone (Mastigoproctus giganteus) by kakiana

By dionosaur

Thumbnail #2 of Giant Vinegarone (Mastigoproctus giganteus) by dionosaur

By MotherNature4

Thumbnail #3 of Giant Vinegarone (Mastigoproctus giganteus) by MotherNature4

By Meeds

Thumbnail #4 of Giant Vinegarone (Mastigoproctus giganteus) by Meeds

By lostinthedesert

Thumbnail #5 of Giant Vinegarone (Mastigoproctus giganteus) by lostinthedesert

Member Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive madamecp On Jun 27, 2007, madamecp from Denver, CO
(Zone 5b) wrote:

I used to have a pet Vinegarone (given to me by an arachnologist friend).

They look a bit like large black scorpions, and therefore might scare people at a glance. Rather than having a stinger, or any form of poison, though, they emit a vinegarish liquid when frightened. I held mine often and it never sprayed or pinched me (I wouldn't harass or startle it).

Vinegarones eat bugs, ranging from beetles to grasshoppers, so they probably would help with pest control (I can't say this for certain, as I live in a bad climate for them). My only negative memory with mine (aside from its death) was of giving it a katydid that was slowing down from the cold. I've always considered katydids beautiful, no matter what they do, so I was more than a bit disturbed to watch it be pounced on and rather quickly demolished.

Neutral Lonnieloup On Jul 26, 2007, Lonnieloup from Carlsbad, NM wrote:

I have a story about this creature. It happend last night as a matter of fact.
Last night around 2 in the morning I left my bedroom to get something from the hall closet. I found what I wanted and went back to my room, I opened my door and saw something wierd crawling on the floor, I was freaked out since I've never seen one of these or even heard of it in my life. I followed it until it was right in front of my closet door, I then tried to scoop it up in a cup but its two front legs that it uses as feelers or something went up then its tail went up and at that point my imagination ran wild and I thought it was going to jump up on me and sting me to death, I knew nothing about these things, so I opened my closet and pulled out one of my combat boots stuck my hand in and smashed the thing. I stood there staring at it for awhile then I could smell vinegar, wow the smell is strong.
But had I known anything about them I would have picked it up and put it back outside, I only killed it because I felt threatend and slightly scared.

Neutral batfetty On Apr 30, 2008, batfetty from Austin, TX wrote:

I lived in Hobbs, New Mexico until 8th grade. We lived out in the country and I remember these black scorpion things in our garage. My parents said they were vinegarones. (?)
Ok. I remember they certainly smelled like vinegar and we (the kids) were afraid of them. For some reason the word came to mind and I plugged in the word and I find this creature in New Mexico? Who'd think it? Yes, they are in Hobbs, New Mexico, or at least they were in the 60's. If they're not poisonous and they eat bugs, then let 'em live. (just don't scare me...)

Negative myf6h1 On Jul 15, 2008, myf6h1 from Carlsbad, NM wrote:

At 4:45 a.m. I was not expecting to see a big bug coming across my floor. I don't know how it got in, but to its dismay. I killed it. They are creepy looking.

Positive lala4j On Jul 21, 2008, lala4j from El Paso, TX wrote:

I was first introduced to this "pest" at the El Paso Zoo. At a show they were having there was a woman walking around with one in her hand showing it to people. She even put her finger up to it's claws and it wound not bite. The good thing about these guys is not only will they eat regular bugs, they also eat scorpions. Ever since we found this out, when they find them in the motor pool my husband works at they no longer kill them.

Positive Meeds On Sep 5, 2008, Meeds from Columbia, MO wrote:

Love these guys. I'm big time into bugs so I keep one as a pet. Great pet, really docile.

Neutral LUXOR73 On Nov 13, 2008, LUXOR73 from Deltona, FL wrote:

Found one of these guys on my patio. Scared me a little as we have scorpions here and we have had them in the house before. This one looked different so I was intrigued. I caught it in a glass and looked it up. I sure am glad they're not poisonous. This one made it outside to the woods.

Positive MotherNature4 On Apr 4, 2009, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL
(Zone 9a) wrote:

I was born in Florida 80 years before I saw my first Vinegarone, but I had heard of Whip Scorpions. I had never seen one of them either. Then I found out it was the same critter. After looking him up on the net and taking his photo, I carried him around for a day. What an interesting thing. I had to turn him loose because I was in a state park, but would have loved to have had him for a pet.

Positive missjanemarple On Aug 27, 2009, missjanemarple from Hobbs, NM wrote:

Freaky looking but good bad bug eaters. Also, very gentle. I was out weeding the front flowers beds today and as I ripped up the last batch of weeds a five inch one of these fell out. It had been sleeping, and I disturbed it. They are night arachnids. It was all confused just like a person is when you dump them out of bed onto the floor. So I let it find a dark hole under the house and go back to sleep. I need one IN the house though so it can get the scorpion that stung my butt on the couch last week.

Positive GreenThumbToo On Apr 22, 2012, GreenThumbToo from Sierra Vista, AZ wrote:

I was new to living in Arizona and had first rented a manufactured home, which had a large cement patio. It was on an acre lot and I had to cut all the large weeds and grass around the house. I must have disturbed this critter as it suddenly appeared right next to me on the patio. I was terrified, thinking it was a scorpion and screamed. A friend. who was visiting my daughter came out and smashed it with his foot. It was only until then, did he take the time and looked closely at it. He told me he was sorry he did that because it was a helpful critter who loved eating black widow spiders and scorpions. I felt so bad that the critter was smashed I gave it a decent burial, putting wild flowers on its little grave. I made a promise to myself to make sure it is a helpful bug, before killing it, and will keep one around my house.

Positive peejay12 On Mar 31, 2014, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall
United Kingdom
(Zone 9b) wrote:

These creatures look scary, but in my experience are completely harmless, and may eat some garden pests. I kept mine as a pet and they are quite popular as a safe alternative pet to scorpions.
The acidic smell they give out when alarmed was quite faint -- a bit like a squeezed lemon. Nothing to be alarmed about, and the 'pincers' are very weak.
Just leave them alone -- they won't do any harm!


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