Introduction to Solifugae :
The Solifugae are an order of animals in the class Arachnida known variously as camel spiders, wind scorpions, sun spiders, or solifuges. The order includes more than 1,000 described species in about 153 genera. Despite the common names, they are neither true scorpions (order Scorpiones) nor true spiders (order Araneae) – though they are more closely related to scorpions than to spiders. Much like a spider, the body of a solifugid has two tagmata: an opisthosoma (abdomen) behind the prosoma (that is, in effect, a combined head and thorax). At the front end, the prosoma bears two chelicerae that, in most species, are conspicuously large. The chelicerae serve as jaws and in many species also are used forstridulation. Unlike scorpions, solifugids do not have a third tagma that forms a "tail". Most species of Solifugae live in dry climates and feed opportunistically on ground-dwelling arthropods and other small animals. The largest species grow to a length of 12–15 cm (5–6 in), including legs. A number of urban legends exaggerate the size and speed of the Solifugae, and their potential danger to humans, which is negligible.
The prosoma comprises the head, the mouthparts, and the somites that bear the legs and the pedipalps. The alternative name "cephalothorax" reflects the fact that the prosoma includes the parts that in insects form the head plus the thorax. Though it is not split into two clear tagmata, the prosoma does have a large, relatively well-defined anterior carapace, bearing the animal's eyes and chelicerae, while a smaller posterior section bears the legs.
Like pseudoscorpions and harvestmen, Solifugae lack book lungs, having instead a well-developed tracheal system that inhales and exhales air through three pairs of slits on the animal's underside.
Solifugae are moderately small to large arachnids (a few millimeters to several centimeters in body length), with the larger species reaching 12–15 cm (5–6 in) in length, including legs.
n practice, the respective lengths of the legs of various species differ drastically, so the resulting figures are often misleading. More practical measurements refer primarily to the body length, quoting leg lengths separately, if at all. The body length is up to 7 cm (3 in). Most species are closer to 5 cm (2 in) long, and some small species are under 1 cm (0.4 in) in head-plus-body length when mature.
Like that of the spider order, the Araneae, the body plan of the Solifugae has two main tagmata: theprosoma, or cephalothorax, is the anterior tagma, and the 10-segmented abdomen, or opisthosoma, is the posterior tagma. As shown in the illustrations, the solifugid prosoma and opisthosoma are not separated by nearly as clear a constriction and connecting tube or "pedicel" as occurs in "true spiders", the order Araneae. The lack of the pedicel reflects another difference between Solifugae and spiders, namely that Solifugids lack both spinnerets and silk, and do not spin webs. Spiders need considerable mobility of their abdomens in their spinning activities, and the Solifugae have no need for any such adaptation.
Lateral aspect of chelicera, showing teeth and cutting edge
Solifugid from Arizona
Among the most distinctive features of the Solifugae are their large chelicerae, which in many species are longer than the prosoma. Each of the two chelicerae has two articles (segments, parts connected by a joint), forming a powerful pincer, much like that of a crab; each article bears a variable number of teeth, largely depending on the species. The chelicerae of many species are surprisingly strong; they are capable of shearing hair or feathers from vertebrate prey or carrion, and of cutting through skin and thin bones such as those of small birds. Many Solifugae stridulate with their chelicerae, producing a rattling noise.
Legs and pedipalps
Like most other arachnids, although Solifugae appear to have five pairs of legs, only the hind four pairs actually are "true" legs. Each true leg has seven segments: coxa, trochanter, femur,patella, tibia, metatarsus, and tarsus.
The first, or anterior, of the five pairs of leg-like appendages are not "actual" legs, but pedipalps and they have only five segments each. The pedipalps of Solifugae function partly as sense organs similar to insects' antennae, and partly in locomotion, feeding and fighting. In normal locomotion, they do not quite touch the ground, but are held out to detect obstacles and prey; in that attitude, they look particularly like an extra pair of legs or perhaps arms. Reflecting the great dependence of Solifugae on their tactile senses, their anterior true legs commonly are smaller and thinner than the posterior three pairs. That smaller anterior pair acts largely in a sensory role as a supplement to the pedipalps, and in many species they accordingly lack tarsi. At the tips of their pedipalps, Solifugae bear eversible adhesive organs, which they may use to capture flying prey, and which at least some species certainly use for climbing smooth surfaces.
Male Solifugid in South African veld. Its flagella are visible near the tips of the chelicerae, looking like large, backward-curling bristles. As in most species, it holds its pedipalps clear of the ground; its front legs serve as tactile sensors, barely touching the ground with their setae
Some species have very large central eyes. They look like simple eyes or ocelli, but they are in fact surprisingly sophisticated. They can recognise forms, and are used in hunting and avoiding enemies. These eyes are remarkable in their internal anatomy; they may represent the last step in the integration of the aggregate of simple ocelli into a compound eye, and of further integration of a compound eye into a simple eye. In contrast, lateral eyes are absent in many species, and where they are present at all, they are only rudimentary.
For the most part, only the posterior three pairs of legs are used for running. On the undersides of the coxae and trochanters of the last pair of legs, Solifugae have fan-shaped sensory organs called malleoli or racquet (or racket) organs. Sometimes, the blades of the malleoli are directed forward, sometimes not. They have been suspected to be sensory organs for the detection of vibrations in the soil, perhaps to detect threats and potential prey or mates. These structures may be chemoreceptors.
Males are usually smaller than females, with relatively longer legs. Unlike females, the males bear a pair of flagella, one on each chelicera. In the accompanying photograph of a male solifugid, one flagellum is just visible near the tip of each chelicera. The flagella, which bend back over the chelicerae, are sometimes called horns and are believed to have some sexual connection, but their function has not yet been clearly explained.
A female of a species in the family Solpugidae showing the malleoli beneath the posterior pair of legs
Solifugid eyes with presumably protective bristles
The Solifugae are an order of their own, though are sometimes confused with spiders, which form a completely distinct order, the Araneae. The order comprises over 1000 described species in 153 genera assigned to the following 12 families::213
The family Protosolpugidae is only known from one fossil species from the Pennsylvanian.
Although the Solifugae are considered to be endemic indicators of desert biomes,:1 they occur widely in semidesert and scrub. Some species also live in grassland or forest habitats. Solifugae generally inhabit warm and arid habitats, including virtually all warm deserts and scrublands in all continents except Antarctica andAustralia.
Solifugae are carnivorous or omnivorous, with most species feeding on termites, darkling beetles, and other small, ground-dwelling arthropods. Solifuges are aggressive hunters and voracious opportunistic feeders and have been recorded as feeding on snakes, small lizards, and rodents. 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 thepharynx. Although they do not normally attack humans, their chelicerae can penetrate human skin, and painful bites have been reported.
Gluvia dorsalis eating a cabbage bug (Eurydema oleracea)
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 - some species then guard them until they hatch. Because the female does not feed during this time, she will try to fatten herself beforehand, and a species of 5 cm (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, postembryo, 9-10 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, jerrymunglum, sun scorpion, and sun spider. In southern Africa, they are known by a host of names, including red romans, haarskeerders ("hair cutters") andbaardskeerders ("beard cutters"), 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 and humans :
Solifugids have been recognised as distinct taxa from ancient times. The Greeks recognized 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 solifugids and scorpions.:2–3
A scorpion (left) fighting a solifugid (right)
Urban legends :
Solifugae are the subject of many legends and exaggerations about their size, speed, behaviour, appetite, and lethality. They are not especially large, the biggest having a leg span of about 12 cm (4.7 in). They are fast on land compared to other invertebrates, with their top speed estimated to be 16 km/h (10 mph), close to one-third as fast as the fastest human sprinter.
The Solifugae apparently have neither venom glands nor any venom-delivery apparatus such as the fangs of spiders, stings of wasps, or venomous setae of caterpillars (e.g., Lonomia or Acharia species). One 1978 study is frequently quoted, in which the authors report detection of an exception to this rule in India, in that Rhagodes nigrocinctus had venom glands, and that injection of the secretion into mice was frequently fatal. However, no supporting studies have confirmed either the facts of the matter, such as by independent detection of the glands as claimed, or the relevance of the observations if correct. Even the authors of the original account denied having found any means of delivery of the putative venom by the animal, and the only means of administering the material to the mice was by parenteral injection. Given that many non-venoms such as saliva, blood and glandular secretions can be lethal if injected, and that no venomous function was even speculated upon in this study, there is no evidence as yet for even one venomous species of solifugid.
Because of their unfamiliar spider-like appearance and rapid movements, Solifugae have startled or even frightened many people. This fear was sufficient to drive a family from their home when one was discovered in a soldier's house in Colchester, England, and caused the family to blame the solifugid for the death of their pet dog. Though they are not venomous, the powerful chelicerae of a large specimen may inflict a painful nip, but nothing medically significant.
"Egyptian giant solpugid (camel spider) Galeodes arabs".National Geographic. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g G. Schmidt (1993). Giftige und gefährliche Spinnentiere(in German). Westarp Wissenschaften. ISBN 3-89432-405-8.
Jump up^ Pechenik, Jan (1996). Biology of the Invertebrates. Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown Publishers. ISBN 0-697-13712-0.
Jump up^ Mullen, Gary R. (2009). Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2 ed.). Burlington, Massachusetts: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-372500-4.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Fred Punzo (1998). The Biology of Camel-Spiders.Springer. ISBN 0-7923-8155-6. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
^ Jump up to:a b c Barnes, Robert D. (1982). Invertebrate Zoology. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. pp. 613–614. ISBN 0-03-056747-5.
Jump up^ Brown, Lesley (1993). The New shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861271-0.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Holm, Erik; Dippenaar-Schoeman, Ansie (2010). Goggo Guide: The arthropods of southern Africa. Pretoria: LAPA Publishers.ISBN 0799346896.
Jump up^ Filmer, Martin (1997). Southern African Spiders. City: BHB International / Struik. ISBN 1-86825-188-8.
Jump up^ Harmer, Sir Sidney Frederic; Shipley, Arthur Everett et alia: The Cambridge natural history Volume 4, Crustacea, Trilobites, Arachnida, Tardigrada, Pentastomida etc. Macmillan Company 1895
Jump up^ Punzo, Fred (1998). The Biology of Camel-Spiders: Arachnida, Solifugae. Boston, MA: Springer US. p. 66. ISBN 9781461557272. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
Jump up^ Beklemishev, Vladimir (1969). Principles of Comparative Anatomy of Invertebrates. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226041751.
Jump up^ Levin, Simon A. (2001). Encyclopedia of biodiversity, Volume 1. 2001: Academic Press. p. 943. ISBN 978-0-12-226866-3.
Jump up^ Skaife, Sydney Harold; South African Nature Notes, Second edition. Pub: Maskew Miller: Cape Town, 1954.
Jump up^ Ross Piper (2007). Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals. Greenwood Press.
Jump up^ "IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Biomechanical Research Project: Berlin 2009." (PDF). Retrieved2013-11-18.
Jump up^ M. Aruchami & G. Sundara Rajulu (1978). "An investigation on the poison glands and the nature of the venom of Rhagodes nigrocinctus(Solifugae: Arachnida)". Nat. Acad. Sci. Letters (India) 1: 191–192.
Jump up^ Klann, Anja Elisabeth. Histology and ultrastructure of solifuges comparative studies of organ systems of solifuges (Arachnida, Solifugae) with special focus on functional analyses and phylogenetic interpretations Dissertation: Greifswald, Univ., Diss., 2009 Edition/Format:Thesis/dissertation Manuscript: eBook Archival Material: English View all editions and formats Database:WorldCat. 
Jump up^ "Stowaway Afghan spider kills family dog". CNN. August 28, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
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Ventral aspect of a solifugid, showing respiratory slots
camel spider fight
External links :
Mikkelson, Barbara & David P. "Camel Spiders" at Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages.
"Camel Spiders: Behind an E-Mail Sensation From Iraq". National Geographic. June 29, 2004.
"The Arachnid Order Solifugae".
Camel Spider Feeding
External links :
Mikkelson, Barbara & David P. "Camel Spiders" at Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages.
"Camel Spiders: Behind an E-Mail Sensation From Iraq". National Geographic. June 29, 2004.
Rhagodes (Solifugae) camel spider eating and breathing.
Bear Grylls Eats Giant Camel Spider
Further Reading :
by Fred Punzo
Camel Spider in Oman
15 Arachnophobic Facts About Camel Spiders :
Camel spiders are tricky creatures. These desert arachnids look like they have ten legs, but two of these limbs are really pedipalps, sensors that help them locate prey. They’re called spiders, but they’re not part of the same order of species as a tarantula or a wolf spider. Instead of fangs, they have powerful jaws. Apologies for the nightmare fodder—despite their fearsome appearance, they’re not actually very dangerous, unless you’re the size of a grasshopper. Here are 15 intriguing facts about camel spiders:
1-THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY SPIDERS.
Camel spiders are arachnids, like true spiders, but belong to a different taxon called solifuges.
2- THEY ARE SPRINTERS.
They can run up to 10 miles an hour, according to some scientific reports.
3. THEIR JAWS MAKE UP A THIRD OF THEIR BODIES.
The arachnids can grow up to six inches long, and up to a third of their length is taken up by their terrifying jaws.
4.THEY GO BY MANY NAMES.
Camel spiders are also called sun spiders, wind scorpions, beard cutters, or the “Kalahari Ferrari.”
5. THEY CAN EAT ENTIRE RODENTS.
Solifuges eat insects and fellow arachnids as well as lizards, snakes, and rodents. The ferocious camel spider will kill and eat poisonous and aggressive creatures, including scorpions and centipedes. They’re skilled climbers and can scale walls and trees in search of prey.
6. THEY ARE FOUND ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Camel spiders have garnered quite a bit of attention since the start of the Iraq War. In 2004, awidely debunked image of a camel spider said to be found by American soldiers in Iraq began circulating, along with rumors that the spiders were eating human flesh. In reality, the spiders don’t pose much of a threat to humans, since they’d much rather munch on something more bite-sized. And solifuges aren’t limited to the deserts of Iraq. There are species found in the desert regions of every continent but Australia and Antartica.
7. THEY’RE NOT VENOMOUS.
They may look tough, but unlike some of their spider brethren, they aren't poisonous. If you really piss one off, it might inflict a painful bite, but that’s about it.
8. THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT SPECIES.
Scientists have found about 1100 solifuge species.
9. THEIR JAWS HAVE 80 NAMED PARTS.
In a study of 188 camel spiders by the American Museum of Natural History from this year, researchers proposed 80 different terms to describe different parts of their sharp-toothed, hairy jaws.
10. THEY’VE BEEN KNOWN TO CHASE PEOPLE.
While camel spiders do sometimes follow people around, it’s not because they’re on the hunt. They’re just trying to use your shadow to evade the hot sun.
11. THEY’RE VERY HARD TO STUDY IN CAPTIVITY.
It’s hard to keep camel spiders alive in the lab so that they can be studied. As an entomologist told LiveScience, “they are quite the divas and require princess-like accommodations to be kept alive.” No doubt this is one of the reasons why camel spiders are not very well studied.
12. DURING WORLD WAR I, SOLDIERS PLACED BETS ON SOLIFUGE FIGHTS.
Troops stationed in Egypt and Libya during World War I would capture camel spiders and force them to fight each other or scorpions, placing bets on the winners, zoologist Fred Punzo writes in The Biology of Camel Spiders: Arachnida, Solifugae.
13. THEY DETECT THEIR PREY THROUGH VIBRATION.
Though they do also use sight, one of the main methods camel spiders use to locate prey is substrate vibrations. Because of this, solifuges sometimes don’t notice potential meals if the insect stops moving. In laboratories, camel spiders have occasionally been convinced to eat dead insects by manually moving them.
14. SOUTH AFRICAN LORE HOLDS THAT CAMEL SPIDERS LOVE HAIR.
“Afrikaaners in South Africa called them 'haarkseerder' (hair-cutters) because many believed that the solifuges were attracted to the long hair of women where they could become entangled, forcing them to use their strong jaws to cut through the hair in order to escape,” Punzo writes.
15. THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
In 1797, zoologist Anton August Heinrich Lichtenstein hypothesized that the Philistine plague of mice referred to in the Old Testament was actually solifuges. The large, hairy arachnids could be mistaken for rodents in some lights, though not everyone agrees with the theory.
Camel Spiders in Iraq
Different stories about these creatures began to spread during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Now, this process continues existing as U.S. forces are still in the Middle East. And the camel spider stories are becoming legendary.
It was this behavior which led coalition soldiers in the 2003 invasion of Iraq to think these spiders were attacking them. In reality, they were merely moving toward the newly available shade provided by the soldiers' presence.
U.S. Army informed that the troops in Iraq have to deal with these creatures and a whole lot more.
Most of them are completely untrue. But sometimes a few photos are enough to cause panic attacks in people and make them believe in something terrible and really dangerous without even analyzing the information. Camel spiders usually are not dangerous but really horrifying; all these factors make people afraid of them. May be it is the main reason for occurring different rumors and myths.
We also have so many myths which the ancient people tell us on hearing them about the camel spiders. Few say that the sun spiders can jump to almost 4 feet in air or even more at times. Also few interesting myths say that these camel spiders are capable of eating the camel's stomach thereby could become huge in size also. In recent years, we also have so many controversial talks regarding this and we even have images being produced. Yet another name to the wind spiders is screaming spiders thus signifying its scream while running. Also they do not stay in holes which exist already but dig their own holes and live in it. Some common food of camel spiders includes other smaller insects, lizards or even scorpions. It is to be noted that once it consumes food, it bloats and stays still unable to move!
Want to know more about the screaming spiders?? Here we have all information right from the discovery of camel spiders to all the myths and humors which are associated with it!!!
While not as exotic as camel spiders, stink bugs can be quite a bother. And are quite frequent in the US.
- The Camel Spider or Wind Scorpion. the Complete Guide to Camel Spiders. All You Need to Know about Camel Spiders. Facts Including Size, Speed, Bite – December 19, 2013
by Hathai Ross