Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Creature Feature: Vinegarroon.

So, how do you like your scorpions? Live? Fried? Boiled? With a little bit of salad dressing?

Thank you, Japan, for proving that you can literally find "anything VS anything" on YouTube.

Actually, if you like your bugs with a little bit of tang, nature has several all ready and waiting for you. Arachnophobes stay away; the whip scorpions of the order Thelyphonida, more commonly known as vinegarroons, look like a cross between a spider and a scorpion. They are carnivorous and native to every dry tropical environ except those in Africa (though they have been introduced there) and Australia, which has too much badass for this arachnid to handle.

The vinegarroon is strange even by arachnid standards. Like scorpions, it has ten appendages: Eight legs and two pedipalps that have evolved into pincer-tipped appendages. It only uses six of its eight legs for walking; the remaining two have become sensory organs akin to antennae on insects. If limbs becoming antennae and mouthparts becoming limbs were not weird enough, vinegarroons also have that tail.

The whiplike tail on the vinegarroon does not have the same venom as the more menacing tails of true scorpions. Special glands near the vinegarroon's rear secrete acetic acid, the same chemical that gives vinegar its smell and flavor, and octanoic acid, a compound found in the milk of several mammals (including goats). When the vinegarroon feels threatened, it aims its tail towards the attacker's eyes, squirting this delicious sounding concoction into a place where the predator cannot enjoy it. The resulting spray smells like vinegar (hence the name "vinegarroon").

This thing should taste like a Greek salad.

 To be perfectly honest, we are not sure whether anyone has tried eating vinegarroons or not. Seeing as they come with their own marinade, one would think that somebody, somewhere, would have tried eating this weird-ass arachnid. This looks to be one of the few arachnids that never get eaten, even if they are kept as pets by Linkin Park fanboys. (Watch. We'll be proven wrong within the hour.)

Thought this was terrifying? Have an actual spider tomorrow. SPIIIDDEEEERS! 

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