The vinegaroon, commonly known as whip scorpion, is a cross between a scorpion and a spider. Both vinegaroons and scorpions are arachnids, which means they have eight legs and two body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen). They also have a pair of mouthparts called pedipalps, with large claws to manipulate food.
This article examines the most significant differences between a vinegaroon and a scorpion to help you discern between the two species. That way, you will know whether they pose any danger to you and your pets and what to do if you come across one.
Comparing Vinegaroon vs Scorpion
|Size||1.0 to 3.3 inches (25 to 84 mm) in length|
The heaviest specimen weighed 0.44 oz (12.4 g)
|0.33 to 9.1 inches (8.3 to 231 mm) long |
Weighs 0.4 to 3.5 oz (10-100 g)
|Color||Brown, black||Brown, red, yellow, white, black|
|Appearance||It has a whiplike tail with no stinger||It has a curved, segmented tail with a stinger at the end|
|Distribution and habitat||Found in tropical and subtropical areas, except Australia and Europe||Found on all continents, excluding Antarctica|
|Mating behavior||The pair does a courtship dance that lasts a few hours; then, using his chelicerae, the male grabs the female then strokes her with his pedipalps||The courtship behavior appears to walk a fine line between wooing and attacking. Some males have been observed stinging their partners while holding her by the pedipalps|
|Litter size||30 to 40 nymphs||6 nymphs|
|Lifespan||Seven years or longer||4-25 years|
The Key Differences Between a Vinegaroon and a Scorpion
Although it’s easy to mistake a vinegaroon for a scorpion and vice versa, the fact is that they have lots of differences. The most significant differences between a vinegaroon and a scorpion are their size and appearance. Other differences include habitat, mating behavior, venom, litter size, and lifespan.
Let’s examine these differences in detail to help you understand them better.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Size
Vinegaroons range from 1.0 to 3.3 inches (25 to 84 mm) in length. Most vinegaroon species have bodies no longer than 1.2 inches (30 mm). The heaviest recorded specimen weighed 0.44 oz (12.4 g).
Scorpions range from 0.33 to 9.1 inches (8.5 to 231 mm). They weigh approximately 0.4 to 3.5 oz (10-100g), making them slightly heavier than the vinegaroons.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Appearance
Both species almost look alike in appearance, but you can differentiate both by looking at their tails. Vinegaroons have long, thin, whiplike tails with no stingers. Scorpions have curved, segmented tails with stingers at the end. A scorpion’s tail is typically a tube formed by barrel-shaped segments that enclose the gut.
Vinegaroons come in either black or brown colors, while the color of scorpions varies based on where they live. Scorpions often blend into sand, bark, and rocks. Some of the most common colors of scorpions include yellow and black, but they can also be orange, red, or brown. Forest scorpions tend to be black, while desert scorpions are typically lighter. All scorpions will appear blue or blue-green when under ultraviolet light.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Distribution and Habitat
Vinegaroons inhabit tropical and subtropical areas, except Europe and Australia. One single species of vinegaroon is known from Africa. Vinegaroons are found in deserts, grasslands, arid scrublands, and mountainous regions of up to 6,000 meters. They usually dig burrows using their pedipalps to transport their prey. Vinegaroons may burrow under rocks, rotting wood, logs, and other natural debris. Like scorpions, vinegaroons are nocturnal animals that prefer humid, dark places.
On the contrary, scorpions are found across all continents, excluding Antarctica. They are more diverse in subtropical areas. In addition to desert habitats, scorpions have also adapted to tropical environments such as forests, savannas, and grasslands.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Mating Behavior
After performing a courtship dance, male vinegaroons use their chelicerae to hold the female’s first legs in order to facilitate efficient movement of sperms. Some species of vinegaroons grab the female, drag her back, then stroke her using their pedipalps. Like scorpions, male vinegaroons may deposit the sperm on the ground, which is later picked up by the female using her genital area.
Scorpions exhibit courtship behavior that varies between wooing and attacking. A male scorpion will lead a female on a dance walk and then hold her using his pedipalps. At this point, male scorpions have been observed stinging their partners to subdue them. Courtship rituals may also involve other behaviors, such as cheliceral kisses, where both sexes grasp each other’s mouth parts, rub their tails together, and elevate their posteriors.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Litter Size
Female vinegaroons extrude 40 eggs within a membranous brood sac that preserves moisture. After a few months, the eggs develop into postembryos, and appendages appear. Between 30 and 40 nymphs are hatched, which climb onto their mother’s back and attach themselves there using special suckers.
Scorpions give rise to an average litter size that ranges from 6 to 12 scorplings. Eggs hatch inside the female scorpion, and the babies are born separately. Like vinegaroon babies, young scorpions cannot feed just after birth, so they have suckers that they use to hold on to their mothers.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Venom
Vinegaroons are nonvenomous, which is why most people keep them as pets. Unlike vinegaroons, scorpions are highly venomous. Most species of scorpions have a sting comparable to a bee sting, while others possess a venomous sting that can be dangerous to humans.
Vinegaroon vs Scorpion: Lifespan
The lifespan of scorpions varies greatly and may be extraordinarily long, ranging from 4 to 25 years. Vinegaroons can live seven years or longer if accorded proper care. Both species are susceptible to predation by lizards, skunks, weasels, and birds, such as roadrunners.
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