The Night I Smelt Like Vinegar

31 August 2012
Whip Scorpions belong to the order Thelyphonida, and I would consider them to be “cousins” of spiders and other scorpions. They are also called Vinegarroons, because of their defence mechanism — spraying acetic acid from glands near the rear of the abdomen which smell very much like vinegar. As expected, I was the target of the “vinegar spray” on this night…

For this shoot, I got back to using the Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro lens, very light and great lens to use! Only drawback is that the lens extends a tad too much. I had sold this lens 2 years ago, and got it back for some hand-held adventures… the result? Many more subjects!!

Just a basic taxonomic structure for the Arachnids with the common orders:

  • Class: Arachnida
    • Order: Tailless Whip Scorpions (Amblypygi)
    • Order: Spiders (Araneae)
    • Order: Harvestmen (Opiliones)
    • Order: Pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpionida)
    • Order: Scorpions (Scorpiones)
    • Order: Whip Scorpions (Thelyphonida)
    • Order: Mites and Ticks (Acari)

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4141#1 Found the Whip Scorpion! But quite dirty as it was digging around the mud.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4164#2 Chased it onto a tree’s exposed root.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4177#3 Glorious dorsal view. It has 6 legs for walking, and 2 front legs modified as sensory organs. The pedipalps are pincer-like, resembling that of a scorpion.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4182#4 An ant came to disturb. Maybe it started spraying because of the irritating ant!!

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4184#5 A closer look at the pedipalps. Not exactly pincers as they cannot “pince” on it’s own

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4189#6 Quite scary looking, but no venom! 🙂

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4194#7 This should be where the “vinegar” came from!!

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4198#8 This whip-like tail is also a sensory organ. Despite the spikey look, it is not a weapon.

Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_4201#9 Final look at the vinegar-emitting glands

Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_4051#10 Tiny little sac spider

Corinnidae, Utivarachna phyllicola - DSC_4041#11 Sac Spider (Utivarachna phyllicola). Seems very common at first glance, but the front row of eyes could tell a different story.

Sac Spider (Clubionidae) - DSC_4053#12 Another view of the tiny sac spider

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_4058#13 Crab spider (Thomisidae) with a grumpy face

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_4062#14 Then again, most crab spiders do not look particularly happy!

Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_4085#15 Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae)

Bristletail (Thysanura) - DSC_4087#16 Jumping Bristletail? (Machilidae?)

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_4151#17 Cute little stick insect was standing beside the Whip Scorpion, but everyone ignored it. I took a record shot and it turned out to be quite a beauty!

Water Scorpion (Nepidae) - DSC_4129#18 Found something in the stream! This is the end of the breathing tube of a water scorpion (Nepidae) on the water surface

Water Scorpion (Nepidae) - DSC_4123#19 Full view of the water scorpion. It is actually a true bug and not related to scorpions at all. Name was given because of this posture which resembles scorpions.

Water Scorpion (Nepidae) - DSC_4206#20 Shooting through the water, face to face with the water scorpion!

Water Scorpion (Nepidae) - DSC_4227#21 Didn’t look too happy and tried to hide behind the leaves

Geosesarma nemesis - DSC_4233#22 Vampire Crab (Geosesarma nemesis) found running around on leaves and on the stream.

Geosesarma nemesis - DSC_4238#23 Stood still enough for me to take a passport photo 🙂

Geosesarma nemesis - DSC_4262#24 Beautiful bright colouration!

Geosesarma nemesis - DSC_4266#25 And then there were two on the wooden railing…

Geosesarma nemesis - DSC_4275#26 Cute pair of vampire crabbies

Tadpole - DSC_4280#27 The stream had tadpoles too.. looks like a smiley face???

Tadpole - DSC_4327#28 From the underside, we could see through the body and examine the internal organs…

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4290#29 Harvestman which we commonly call the gummybear

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4299#30 Side view of the harvestman

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4303#31 Ran onto a bright yellow leaf

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4308#32 Closed up when it felt a little threatened

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4312#33 Started running again!!

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4317#34 Looks much nicer spread open

Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4320#35 Final shot of the gummy bear

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_4332#36 Beautiful looking Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae)

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_4336#37 Bright orange legs with dark (black?) carapace

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_4337#38 Closer view of the face

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_4338#39 One of the many wandering spiders (Ctenidae) on the forest leaf litter

Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_4340#40 Face shot of the wandering spider

Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_4344#41 Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae). One leg appears to be of a different colour. This is probably a regrown leg from a recent moult. Spiders can regrow lost legs from their moults, but that also means that they will not be able to regrow their legs if they had already undergone their last moult!

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_4345#42 Final shot goes to the little Huntsman Spider that used to be classified as a Sac Spider

The full album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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