Acid-spraying, scorpion-like insects spotted in Texas

They look like a mix between a scorpion and a spider, spray acid to protect themselves and eat cockroaches for dinner — and now they’ve been spotted in Texas. 

A vinegaroon, an arachnid also known as a whip scorpion and even called a “land lobster,” was found in Big Bend National Park last week, around the Chisos Basin campground. The park shared a photo of the creature on social media, much to the horror of its followers. 

According to park officials, summer rain brings vinegaroons out of their burrows. The creatures, which are about three inches long, emerge during this time of year in search of “food and love.”

They are “relatively benign unless you happen to annoy them,” the park said. 

Summer rains bring vinegaroons out of their burrows in search of food and love. Vinegaroons are about 3 inches long and…

Posted by Big Bend National Park on Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The insects are capable of pinching, as well as shooting a “well-aimed” spray composed of 85% acetic acid, or vinegar, from the base of their “whip.” Both are forms of protection, but their spray is not considered poisonous to humans.  

The ability to shoot vinegar from its tail gave the bug its name. And the species found in Texas is black in color. 

Vinegaroons are nocturnal, have poor eyesight and are most commonly found in the desert. They typically hunt millipedes, scorpions, crickets, cockroaches and other invertebrates using their thin front legs to sense vibrations. 

Females can sometimes be identified by the hatchlings being carried on their backs, similar to scorpions. 

“If you’re lucky enough to see one, look closely,” park officials said.