Scientific Name: Thelyphonus indicus
Tamil Name: Thel
Description: It is black and brown body with a tail whip like without a sting. Pincers are sharp and crab like. A small plate made up of the last three segments of the abdominal exoskeleton is present. They are sometimes referred as vinegaroons.
Habitat: Built spaces, crevices and under debris is the preferred habitat.
Habits: They usually dig underground burrows with their front claws known as pedipalps, to which they transport their prey. They may also burrow under logs, rotting wood, rocks, and other natural debris. They prefer humid, dark places and avoid light.
Food: Vinegaroons are carnivorous, nocturnal hunters feeding mostly on insects, millipedes, scorpions, and terrestrial isopods but sometimes on worms and slugs. The prey is crushed between special teeth on the inside of the trochanters (the second segment of the “legs”) of the front appendages.
Life cycle: Males secrete a spermatophore, which is transferred to the female. After a few months the female will dig a large burrow and seal herself inside. Up to 40 eggs are extruded, within a membranous brood sac that preserves moisture. The white young that hatch from the post embryos, climb onto their mother’s back and attach themselves there with special suckers.
Role in the environment: It plays a major role as a predator of insects in the forest floor which is its habitat.
Photo source : Dr. J. Subramanean