Camel spiders are one of the fastest-running arthropods, able to run at about 10mph/16kph. While they have four pairs of legs, they run using only three pairs. The front pair of legs or pedipalpi are used in a manner similar to the antennae of insects. They have very long, silky setae and are constantly moving in order to locate and pick-up prey. Also known as "wind spiders", they are not actually spiders at all, but are of a species called solifugids, arachnids which are nocturnal by nature, and flee from the sun. Voracious feeders, camel spiders are nocturnal predators of other arthropods including scorpions. Some species kill and feed on lizards and it is speculated that others kill mice and birds. They rely solely on their speed and stealth to catch their prey. In desert areas they are often attracted to lights at night in search of food. It is rare to see them during the winter months and they are thought to hide or hibernate during cold periods.
Despite their fearsome appearance (they are about the size of an adult's hand) and their strong bite, solifugids are unlikely to harm humans. Since there is no evidence of venom in any part of their body, it is thought that the only risk of injury resulting from them is caused by shock or infection following a bite.Solifugids are moderate to large arachnids, with the larger species reaching 7 centimetres (2.8 in) in length. The body is divided into a forward part, cephalothorax or prosoma, and a ten-segmented abdomen or opisthosoma. The prosoma comprises the head, mouthparts and somites containing the pedipalps. It is divided into a relatively large anterior carapace, including the animal's eyes, and a smaller posterior section.
The most distinctive feature of Solifugae is their large chelicerae, which are longer than the prosoma. Each of the two chelicerae are composed of two articles forming a powerful pincer; each article bears a variable number of teeth.
While solifuges appear to have ten legs, they have eight legs like other arachnids; the first set of appendages are pedipalps, which function as sense organs similar to insects' antennae and give the appearance of an extra pair of legs. The pedipalps terminate in eversible adhesive organs, which are used to capture flying prey, and for climbing. They stridulate with their chelicerae, resulting in a rattling noise.
Of the four pairs of legs, the first pair are smaller in size, and act as accessory tactile organs used to feel the animal's surroundings, so that only the other six legs are used for running. On the last pair of legs, Solifugae have fan-shaped sensory organs called as racquet organs or malleoli.
Like pseudoscorpions and harvestmen, they lack book lungs, having instead a well-developed tracheal system that takes in air through three pairs of slits on the animal's underside. In some species there are very large central eyes that are capable of recognising forms, and are used for hunting. Lateral eyes are only rudimentary, if present at all. Males are usually smaller than females, with longer legs.
camel spider image
dangerous camel spider
camel spiderlthough Solifugae are considered to be endemic indicators of desert biomes,:1 some species have been known to live in grassland or forest habitats. Most solifugae inhabit warm and arid habitats, including virtually all deserts in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, but excluding Australia.
Solifugae are carnivorous or omnivorous, with most species feeding on termites, darkling beetles, and other small ground-dwelling arthropods. Solifuges are opportunistic feeders and have been recorded as feeding on snakes, small lizards and rodents; Solifugae have even been videotaped consuming lizards. Prey is located with the pedipalps and killed and cut into pieces by the chelicerae. The prey is then liquefied and the liquid ingested through the pharynx. Although they do not normally attack humans, these chelicerae can penetrate human skin, and painful bites have been reported.
Solifugae are typically univoltine.:8 Reproduction can involve direct or indirect sperm transfer; when indirect, the male emits a spermatophore on the ground and then inserts it with his chelicerae in the female's genital pore: to do this, he flings the female on her back. The female then digs a burrow, into which she lays 50 to 200 eggs, depending on the species: she guards them until they hatch. Because the female will not feed during this time, she will try to fatten herself beforehand, and a species of 5 centimetres (2.0 in) has been observed to eat more than 100 flies during that time in the laboratory. Solifugae undergo a number of stages including, egg, post-embryo, nine to ten nymphal instars, and adults.
The name Solifugae derives from Latin, and means "those that flee from the sun". The order is also known by the names Solpugida, Solpugides, Solpugae, Galeodea and Mycetophorae. Their common names include camel spider, wind scorpion, jerrymuglum, sun scorpion and sun spider. In southern Africa they are known by a host of names including red romans, haarskeerders and baardskeerders, the latter two relating to the belief they use their formidable jaws to clip hair from humans and animals to line their subterranean nests.Solifugids have been recognised as distinct taxa from ancient times. The Greeks recognised that they were distinct from spiders; spiders were called ἀράχνη (arachne) while Solifugae were named φαλάγγιον (phalangion). In Aelian's De natura animalium they are mistakenly mentioned, along with scorpions, as responsible for the abandoning of a country in Ethiopia. Anton August Heinrich Lichtenstein theorised in 1797 that the "mice" which plagued the Philistines in the Old Testament were Solifugae. During World War I, troops stationed in Abū Qīr, Egypt would stage fights between captive jerrymanders, as they referred to them and placed bets on the outcome. Similarly British troops stationed in Libya in World War II would stage fights between Solifugae and scorpions.:2–3
camel spider pics