Amblypygi lost both antennae

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Arachnosquire
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Jul 3, 2014
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Bought a juvenile Amblypygi at a con yesterday but didn't notice it lacked both of its antennae/front legs. They had it in a communal setting so I assume they were eaten off.

I am worried that without them it won't be able to hunt, as they seem to be their primary way of sensing prey. Can they manage without them? My intuition/feeling from interacting with it and trying to feed it is that it is effectively blind without its antennae but I'm hoping that like most arachnids they have sense organs for vibrations too?
 

Albireo Wulfbooper

Arachnosquire
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Aug 1, 2019
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They are pretty much blind without their antenniform legs, but they will still have some limited sensory capability from other sensory "hairs" on their body. They will struggle to hunt, but with a bit of help can manage to get enough food to get by. You might need to cripple its prey to make it easier to catch. If your enclosure is set up so that the amblypygi doesn't have to travel far to find the prey, and the prey doesn't have anywhere to hide, that will also help.
 

wizentrop

to the rescue!
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Apr 20, 2005
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This is a tricky situation.
Can it hunt without whips? Absolutely.
Will it be easy to feed? No.

The problem is, like you said, that the whip spider is now crippled and cannot home-in on its prey using the whips. So its accuracy is lost. However it can still strike at moving prey if it is at close range. My suggestion is to feed it with cricket nymphs after removing their hind jumping legs. You will also have to observe the whip spider and make sure it catches the prey, otherwise a live uneaten cricket can cause more damage to the amblypygid. The prey crickets must be alive (=roaming) for the whip spider to locate them, you cannot use pre-killed prey in this case.

I have had many whipless amblypygids in the past, and with careful husbandry they all successfully ate prey, eventually molting and regenerating the lost whips.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoprince
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The prey crickets must be alive (=roaming) for the whip spider to locate them, you cannot use pre-killed prey in this case.
I've definitely been able to feed freshly killed prey in the past if I rubbed it back and forth along a log or similar in order to provide a scent trail. Is the issue here that an amblypygid with missing whips won't be able to follow that trail?
 

Albireo Wulfbooper

Arachnosquire
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I've definitely been able to feed freshly killed prey in the past if I rubbed it back and forth along a log or similar in order to provide a scent trail. Is the issue here that an amblypygid with missing whips won't be able to follow that trail?
If I'm not mistaken, most (if not all) of the scent-sensing structures are in the whips.
 

wizentrop

to the rescue!
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@schmiggle Many amblypygid species (but not all) will go after pre-killed prey. However, their main sensory system is on the whips. When those are missing, the only other indication they can get for the presence of prey nearby is a movement right beside the legs' trichobotria.
 

BenLeeKing

Arachnoknight
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Nov 23, 2017
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Also I've read that the whips are vital for communication, so if you have multiple housed together, make sure to separate the damaged one out.
 
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