Whip Spiders

Order Amblypygi

Online Biology Dictionary

whip spider
A whip spider

A whip spider is any arachnid belonging to the order Amblypygi (/AM-blī-PĪJ-ee/). Despite their name, they aren’t true spiders. Also known as tailless whip-scorpions or amblypygids, they have well-developed, pincerlike pedipalps, as do scorpions, but lack a tail (thus, their name: ambly = blunt, and pygi = rumps). These arachnids are 4-45 mm (0.16-1.8 in) long. Most amblypygids are nocturnally active and prefer a humid environment. All lack both silk and venom.

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The first of the four pairs of appendages corresponding to the walking legs of spiders, is not used in locomotion. Instead each of these members is a thin, whiplike sensory organ, several times the length of the body, used to detect prey in darkness. Amblypygids walk sideways like a crab, extending one whip ahead and the other far out to either side.

Geographic range: Tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

Etymology: The prefix ambly- comes from the Greek word amblys, meaning blunt or dull, and the suffix
-pygi comes from the Greek word pyge, meaning rump or buttocks. So the ordinal name Amblypygi means "ones having a blunt rump" (as opposed to scorpions, which have a sharp rump or tail).

Trichodamon froesi, an amblypigid from northeastern Brazil: Trichodamon

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