Other Common Names
the names Camel Spider, Wind Scorpion, Sun Spider are sometimes used but are misleading, as the creatures are not closely related to either scorpions or spiders
Solifugae (SOLE-ee-FEW-jee), solifuge (SOLE-ee-fuge), solpugid (sol-PEW-jid)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
The order is currently under revision. If you would like to contribute to the research, please consult(1)
Explanation of Names
Solifugae Sundevall 1833
Latin sol 'sun' + fug 'flee' (Solifugae are nocturnal and if found in daylight will seek the nearest shade)
ca. 200 spp. in 12 genera of 2 families in NA(2)
; >1100 spp. in ~140 genera of 12 families worldwide(1)(3)
Great many spp. are known from either males or females only, so associating genders will probably lead to combining some putative species in the future.
so. African spp. can reach 70 mm (up to 160 mm with legs included (Biodiversity Explorer
); most of our spp. reach about 25 mm (~1")
Eight-legged, somewhat scorpion-like, but lacking the tail. Elongated pedipalps
look like an extra set of legs, but are used as sensory organs, similar to antennae.
Identification to species extremely difficult.
Warm arid places, mostly deserts and sandy areas, but some found in forests and grasslands
Voracious predators, feed on invertebrates and small vertebrates
; scavenge on dead creatures and hunt live prey
They lack venom, but the strong jaws may inflict a sharp bite in self-defense if handled. The most common species are quite small and can hardly be felt except for a slight "pinch". Larger members (e.g., Eremorhax spp.) have been known to draw blood. Immediately disinfect the bite.
"Solifugae are the subject of many urban legends and exaggerations about their size, speed, behavior, appetite, and lethality." (Wikipedia
Debunking of Camel Spider myths, some general information