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(Wind spider, Sun spider, Camel spider)
Information and replies re photos posted by Linda
Official Info:
Order Solifugae
Phylum: Arthropoda, subphylum Chelicerata, class Arachnida)

This group of arachnids has various common names most of which suggest that they are spiders, which they are not. The only similarity they share with spiders is the fact that they have eight legs. Solifugids have no venom glands and are not a threat to man although they are very aggressive and fast moving and can inflict a painful bite.
The name of the solifugids originates from the Latin for 'fleeing from the sun' although many species are nocturnal. The term 'sun spider' applies to those species active during the day that tend to avoid the heat and dash from shadow to shadow - often of a person - giving the alarming impression that they are giving chase. The term 'red roman' probably originates form the Afrikaans term 'rooiman' (red man) due to the red-brown colour of some species. The popular terms 'haarskeerders' and 'baardskeerders' (Afrikaans words for hair and beard cutters) originate from the strange behaviour of some of these animals where they cut hair from sleeping people or animals (dogs) at night. It appears that female solifugids find hair to be an ideal nest liner.

Solifugids appear to have 10 legs but in fact, the first pair of appendages are the pedipalps that are very strong and are used for various functions such as drinking, fighting, feeding and mating. The first pair of legs are thin and short and used as tactile organs. The fourth pair of legs are the longest and strongest and carry white structures called racket organs - the purpose of which is not known.

They vary in size and those found locally are quite small, about 15-20 mm, but in the arid areas they can reach 70 mm and with legs included, can measure 160 mm. The head is large, supporting large strong chelicerae (jaws). The 11 segmented abdomen is soft and expandable that enables the animal to each large amounts of food.

The order includes various families; Ceromidae, Daesiidae, Gylippidae, Hexisopodidae, Karschiidae, Melanoblossiidae, Solpugidae. Of the 900 species throughout the world, 240 species occur in southern Africa. Solifugids are divided into two groups - nocturnal and diurnal. The diurnal species are usually more brightly coloured and the nocturnal species are usually much larger. These arachnids are found mostly in the hot arid regions and have a resistance to high temperatures and low humidity.

Solifugids prey on various insects, spiders, scorpions, small retiles, dead birds and even each other. Some species are exclusively termite predators. They run their prey down and once they catch it they eat while the prey is still alive with vigorous ripping and cutting actions of the powerful jaws.

Male solifugids have hook-like flagella on the chelicerae, uniquely shaped for each species, that probably play some part in mating. During mating, the male deposits a spermatophore in the female's vagina. About 20 to 200 eggs are produced and hatch within about four weeks. Solifugids live for about a year and pass through 9 instars before maturity. They are solitary animals living in scraped out sand retreats under rocks and logs.
Dippenaar, A. 1993. Sunspiders - some interesting facts. African Wildlife. 47(3): 120-122.
2 July, 2003:
Another Reply:
Hi all. I found each of your photos on the Spider ID Webpage regarding the "camel spider". I'll have to look up that name for it as well, but I know it as "Mexican Sun Spider", "Wind Scorpion", and "Salpogida". I've learned something new about them from each of your posts, and thought I might add my "two cents" to what's been said in case I can help as well"

The largest native version we've seen here is about 2 inches, There is a much larger one being imported into our local pet stores here from South Africa (and probably Kuwait and other Arab Emerite countries as was mentioned regarding our desert troops). that can get up to 4 inches .I just hope some bozo doesn't let his "pet" loose to interbreed. with the native stock. They're horrible enough as it is, with the size they are now!

I live in the tail end of San Diego County (Ramona) between the Anzo Borrego Desert and the pine mountains of
Julian, so I get the extreme temperatures of both places depending on which way the wind decides to blow. My house/yard of 10 years has many of these nasty beasties. We believe they probably plagued the original house owners too for another 15 years previous. It might even be the true reason why they sold the house.

These Sun Spiders are mean! We've had Mexican Black Tarantulas (got one in a jar right now, waiting for a trip to our local canyon), brown recluse and black widow spiders, as well as rattlesnakes in our house and yard, but they don't frighten us (other than the $800 per dog-x 2 dogs-antivenon pricetag we've had to pay) but they are relatively non-aggressive and will leave us alone if we do the same for them. However, my whole family is afraid of the Mexican Sun Spiders. They are incredibly aggressive!!!! If they are on the hunt, they run to us if we make leg movements on the floor. I don't know if they sense the vibration or "see" the movement, but we've all been chased around the room by the really aggressive ones. They also climb walls and other things, so there is no escape from them when you are resting in a chair or on a bed..

I was especially unhappy to hear how they envenomate and eat, from Linda's article response. I knew from the pet store captives that they ate baby mice as well as crickets, no different than a Tarantula or other large spider does, but I guess I didn't want to dwell on the process in relation to the sun spiders in my house. My son has nightmares already about the large one (almost 2 inches) that ran up his leg and tried to bite him through the denim-even with three people trying to remove the spider from the pant leg, so I don't think I will tell him what you said it was probably aiming to do once it got through the pants material with those nasty crab claws they have for mouth ornaments. Yes. We've used professional exterminators-most of whom have never encountered a Salpogida before and have no clue what to do for them- and when that failed, we worked hard for almost a year to pick up all leaf litter, boxes, large rocks-anything they can hide under in the yard or house.....and they still keep coming.  My fondest wish is that my expanding population of fire ants will meet my expanding population of sun spiders and both sides will lose the battle. Fat chance, but I can

If any of you happen to come across anything that can be used to treat these critters other than the methods I've already tried, I'd be really grateful if you would pass it on to me! Meantime, I'll be here with my "little pals" waiting for their killer bee and Australian Funnel Web spider friends to cross the border and add to the fun.

Yours in spiderhood,

Another Reply:
My name is SSgt Layton, from Beale AFB, CA. I have also came across this type of animal in my work center. I took it to Entomology(a place that knows about all of the local bugs in the area) and he told me it was a
Pseudo Scorpion a.k.a. a pale wind scorpion. Believe it or not it does belong to the scorpion family. It is a non poisonous, nocturnal, aggressive bug hunter. It hunts by vibration from other insects and spiders.
Although it is an ugly cuss, it is a helpful bug and should not be destroyed (at least that is what I was told). I hope this helps you out and calms your fears about the ugly little
SSgt Chad C. Layton
Combat Arms Instructor
 Beale AFB, CA 95903

More info from Linda. Here's another reply she was sent:  
I would watch out for these... If you have found three there may be bound to be more... Apparently there are typically a few smaller (which are actually quite large) spiders which 'patrol' the area while the largest lurks... So unless you've found the largest one, there may still be more to find... Bad things to know... Their venom is a numbing type which they will numb a piece of flesh, and then eat away... Have had reports of them eating pieces as large as a baseball. They're typically found in the desert, i have included pictures of one i caught while deployed in Iraq this month... They are fairly dangerous spiders, i would look into a exterminator to make sure there aren't more. The front two legs are actually feelers and not legs, they serve no other purpose to feel around. if you notice they aren't skinny like the rest. Hope this info helps, and doesn't scare the bejeesus out of you. And i dont know their technical name... Marines have been running into these spiders since the beginning in 29 Palms/ Palm springs area...
Another reply:
Check out this link as well as the picture I've attached. It appears  that this "creature" is often mistaken for a
scorpion. It is called a "SOLPUGID (SOL-PEW-JUD). Also known as the Camel Spider or Wind Scorpion. Believe it or not it EATS scorpions, mice and lizards too! YIKES! Though it is not known to be a venemous or poisonous spider, it has been known to make humans ill if bitten. I believe my Indian friends, they say it makes you very very sick! Anyhow, I think this is our answer for our little victim creatures. Though they appear to have ten legs the two "front legs" are actually arms used to catch their prey. Pretty fast buggers too, been recorded at speeds of 10 mph in Afghanistan, known to habitat there as well. Guess they like that arid desert!! Guess you better check those doors and windows, wouldn't want  too many of those crawling around the house! Not in MY HOUSE anyway. Eeeeeekkk! Hope this info helps. Let me know if you find out anything else.
Take care,
Deonna and Eric
 BTW all the info I found I was on the internet. Once the name of the spider is known it's easy to find info. Thanks to the pictures of course. By the by, our little friend is in a jar with a lid. He's a bit agitated to say the least, guess he's hungry as they are known to have voracious appetites! We're too scared to let him out. Guess he'll be the neighborhood pet for a while!! :)
Another reply:
HELLO, That photo you submitted that you found in your house It's not a  spider it is a "Wind Scorpion". The good news is there's not one drop  of venom in them. The bad news is they have some of the strongest  clippers on the planet. I found about 9 last summer in my yard up here  in Las Vegas, NV. What ever you don't try to pick it up even though it  has no venom. If they feel something moving they will tear through it  like a shredder till it's gone. I did a test with a wind scorpion and  4 cockroaches. I made them run and when they touched this scorpion it  tore it to shreds and ate it. He ate all 4 cockroaches in 10 minutes.  And those 2 extra legs are his feelers. The Wind Scorpion.
Another reply: That is a camel spider. im deployed right now and we catch them all the time and make them fight. that one is acually a baby. the ones we get are about the same length as the sharpe marker you used. i know they are only in the desert but i didnt know they were in california. there are alot of myths that come from military personell but im not sure whats true and whats myth. i do know that they eat raw meat, run 10 mph, and get really,
really big.

richard brown USAF

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