The tail-less whip scorpion Phrynichus jayakari is spider-like in appearance and, as the common name of this group of arachnids suggests, it lacks a tail (2).
The body of Phrynichus jayakari is relatively flat, with a narrow waist, and is covered by an undivided carapace that is wider than it is long (3). It has a single pair of eyes at the front of the body and three eyes along both sides (2).
Phrynichus jayakari differs from the other arachnids (a group which includes spiders and scorpions) in that it uses only six of its limbs to walk rather than eight, as the front pair are instead modified into very long sensory organs (2). In spite of its rather threatening appearance, Phrynichus jayakari is in fact totally harmless and does not possess venom glands or a sting (3).
Like other members of the Amblypygi (whip spiders and tail-less whip scorpions), Phrynichus jayakari is primarily nocturnal and emerges at night in search of food or a mate (6). It has a sideways ‘crab-like’ walking gait, with one its long modified legs always pointing in the direction it is walking (7). Phrynichus jayakari uses its pedipalps to capture insect prey and also during courtship and mating (7).
Although not much is known about the specific mating rituals of Phrynichus jayakari, in other species of tail-less whip scorpions sperm is generally transferred from male to female via the use of a spermatophore(8). Males first perform an elaborate courtship dance before depositing a spermatophore and manoeuvring the female over it. The sperm is then transferred to the female’s genital opening and is used to fertilise the eggs. The female lays between 6 and 60 eggs, and these remain in a sac attached to the female’s underside until they hatch (7).
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