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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Whip Spider Facts

Whip spider facts for kids are educational!

A whip spider, also known as a tailless whip scorpion or Amblypugi, belongs to the class of Arachnids. There are almost 151 surviving species, divided among 17 genera and further divided into four families. A whip spider is extremely hideous and is easily considered to be dangerous which is totally incorrect, since this species is venomless and retreats immediately if it senses threats. Whip spiders have a flat body with a color ranging from yellowish-brown to dark brown, with dark spots all over their bodies. Their palpi's are powerful and large which resemble the pincers of a scorpion. These pincers help this creature to grab and hold its prey. The legs of a tailless whip scorpion have countless sensory organs but they do not use their first legs to walk. They are mainly used to touch surroundings and during courtship.

If you liked these true facts about whip spiders, then you'll surely like these facts about katipo spiders and deathstalker scorpions too!

Whip Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a whip spider?

Whip spiders (Amblypugi) belong to the class of Arachnids and are similar in appearance to whip scorpions that don't have a tail, which is another species belonging to the arachnid class.

What class of animal does a whip spider belong to?

A tailless whip scorpion belongs to the Arachnids class of animals and the funnel weaver genus. Arachnids include species containing spiders which make up the largest order alongside scorpions, mites, ticks, and solifuges.

Arachnid adults can be distinguished by their eight legs, however, the pair of front legs in some species of arachnids serve the function of a sensory gland. In other species, extra pairs of legs are formed by different appendages that have grown large enough.

There are over 100,000 named arachnid species with the majority being terrestrial (land dwellers) while a few of them also inhabit freshwater and marine environments.

How many whip spiders are there in the world?

As these spiders belong to the Paraphrynus genus and are found in abundance in tropic and sub-tropic regions across the world, there is no exact population count for this small spider species.

Where does a whip spider live?

Whip spiders are found in North America, South America, Asia, and Africa and are found in abundance in nature on these continents. In America, these spiders can be found in Florida and the Southwest in states such as Arizona and New Mexico.

What is a whip spider's habitat?

Whip spiders have been found all over the world. These creatures prefer to live near tropical and subtropical regions. They can be easily found in grasslands, dry mountainous areas, and forests.

A common whip spider location is mostly in and around rock crevices, caves, logs, leaves, under debris,  and rotting wood.

Who do whip spiders live with?

A tailless whip scorpion is solitary in nature just like most other spider species. They are seen together only during mating seasons.

How long does a whip spider live?

Tailless whip scorpions can live up to seven years of age and they molt three times during their youth until they are mature. They spend almost four years in their adult forms.

How do they reproduce?

During mating season, males attract females by a jerking signal, petting with antenniform leg vibration, angling,  antenniform leg cleaning, extending their pedipalps, and stocking females with their pincer-like claws. Once females agree to mate, a male will deposit the stalked spermatophores at the tip onto the ground and guide a female over there with the help of their pedipalps. A female then collects the sperm and lays fertilized eggs inside of an egg sac. The eggs hatch within three months. Once the babies are born, they climb on top of their mother and stay there until their first molt.

What is their conservation status?

Tailless whip scorpions belong to the class of Arachnids and are found in tropical and subtropical regions across the globe. They play an important role in the ecosystem by eliminating other pests by preying on them as a source of food. An accurate number of their population is hard to come by due to data deficiency but it can be assumed that they are thriving and have a high population.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, whip spiders are Not Extinct.

Whip Spider Fun Facts

What do whip spiders look like?

Whip spiders are a freakish but eye-catching species and because of their appearance, people are afraid of them and consider them to be dangerous and poisonous. Whip spiders only become aggressive when it comes to defending their territories. Despite their hideous appearance, they are harmless to humans and tend to run away if threatened.

Most species of tailless whip scorpions have four pairs of eyes, a firm carapace with a subdivided abdomen. Tailless whip scorpions have a flat and broad body with eight legs, but they use only six legs to walk. They also use a pair of pedipalps to grab and retain their prey and their first pair of legs are used as sensory glands. Sometimes it looks like they have an extra pair of legs which are formed by different appendages that have grown large enough.

Their legs have several sensory glands. These spiders are found in places that are hot and humid. A few species of whip spiders are nocturnal in nature and they spend most of the daytime under rocks, barks, and leaves. Whip spiders use their pincers to grab and hold their prey as they hunt for food.

Whip spider facts are informative!

How cute are they?

These species of spiders are extremely hideous with their flat look and they appear to have 10 legs. Their legs are extremely thin and their front pincer is portrayed as a whip.

How do they communicate?

Just like other species of spiders, tailless whip scorpions communicate using touch and vibration senses known as seismic communication. A female Amblypygi communicates with her spiderlings by using her long antenniform front legs.

How big is a whip spider?

A whip spider is also known as a tailless whip scorpion. They are both similar in appearance except for the tail. Whip spiders can grow up to be 0.3-1.8 in (8-45 mm) and their whips are much bigger than their entire body. Compared to the Goliath birdeater which is the largest spider species, this creature is harmless and non-venomous.

How fast can a whip spider run?

Although accurate data on their speed cannot be found, these spiders are known for their quick running speed. When they are in danger or sense predators around, they start running rapidly.

How much does a whip spider weigh?

No accurate data is available on the weight of these spider species with a whip. A whip spider will grow between 0.3-1.8 in (8-46 mm) in length.

What are their male and female names of the species?

No specific name has been assigned to either gender of this species.

What would you call a baby whip spider?

A baby grass spider is called a 'spiderling'. After hatching,  spiderlings climb on top of their mother and stay there until their first molt.

What do they eat?

Whip spiders are opportunistic predators and their diet consists of grasshoppers, cockroaches, small lizards, and crickets. A tailless whip scorpion can survive without feeding for over a month and these spiders do not eat during or after they molt.

Are they poisonous?

No, not at all. Tailless whip scorpions are harmless to humans as they do not possess a silk gland or venomous fangs. They do not bite but they use their pedipalps to grab when they feel threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, whip spiders do make a good pet. Many species of a whip spider pet are available in stores across the globe such as Paraphrynus mexicanus, Acanthophrynus coronatus, Euphrynichus amanica, Damon medius, Phyrnus marginemaculatus, Damon Diadema, and Heterophrunus batesii. A whip spider is easy to take care of because they are easy to feed and do not require any special care. As they are nocturnal in nature, you might have to play with them at night!

Did you know...

Tailless whip scorpions, along with American whip spiders and Florida whip spiders, are not true spiders since they do not produce any venom or silk. Their name is derived from the look of their first pair of legs. A whip spider bite can be extremely painful causing itching and severe pain.

An African whip spider is also known as Damon Variegatus, Damon annulatipes, and Phrynichodamon scullyi.

Tailless whip scorpions resemble schizomids (Schizomida) and whip scorpions (Uropygi) due to the common feature shared by these three species which is their unique whip-like feature. These whip-like feelers are used as sensory glands.

A giant whip spider (Heterophrynus) is found near rocky mountain streams of tropical rainforests on Caribbean islands. They position themselves at the edge of the stream with their pedipalps ready and extended while entering the shallow waters with their antenniform legs. They prey on freshwater prawns while submerged in water.

A whip scorpion spider molts while hanging upside down and it uses gravity to assist itself when it separates from its exoskeleton.

A tailless whip spider has four pairs of legs, but they use only six legs to walk sideways just like a crab. This creature has a good sense of direction and it can find its way back to its territory without any difficulty.

Once the eggs are hatched, they climb on top of their mother's back and if any fall off before their first molt they may not survive.

If there was a showdown between a whip spider vs scorpion, neither would win as they are both non-venomous and neither would be able to kill the other one.

What happens to a mother whip spider after laying her eggs?

An average litter size of a female whip spider is 30 to 40 eggs and females incubate them alone without the help of a male. Once the eggs are hatched, a female will carry her spiderlings on her back and provide food and protection till their first molt.  It has been found out that a female will give up her prey for her spiderlings and die due to starvation.

Why does it look like whip spiders have 10 legs?

Just like other species of spiders, a whip spider has four pairs of legs, but they use only six to walk. The front legs are used as sensory organs rather than for walking and the pair of pincers in the front appears as an extra pair of legs making them look like they have 10 legs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including Brazilian wandering spider, or orb-weaver spider.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our spider coloring pages.

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