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Wind Scorpions

Introduction: Common Name: Wind scorpion, solifugid, sun spider, camel spider
Order: Solifugae

Description: Solfugids or Wind scorpion, are not technically spiders but belong to an order of arachnids known for their speed and their large, forward-pointing chelicerae, or biting fangs. They live in tropical or subtropical dry areas of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Worldwide, there are about 900 known species of wind scorpions, and in North America there are 120. They were the subject of the urban legend going around about soldiers in Iraq being chased and eaten by large spiders. Wind scorpions are from 1 to 5 cm long. Most are yellowish to brown in colour, and have four pairs of legs. The pedipalps are thin and used like feelers. The first pair of legs are more slender than the others and act as sense organs. The mouth parts (chelicerae) of wind scorpions are formed into large jaws that work vertically and project forward from the mouth. The shape of the head with its enormous jaws is quite distinctive. The males often have a more slender body, which is often longer in the males than in the females and with their longer legs males look bigger.

Twenty-six species are reported from Texas. Most of the Texas species belong to the family Eremobatidae. The largest genus is Eremobates. In this family, the front of the head is straight across and the first pair of legs have one or two claws. The species are difficult to identify. Many are localized or have records from only a few locations.

Habitat:  They can move very fast and run "like the wind", hence the name. They may burrow into the sand or hide under stones. Most species of wind scorpion are actually nocturnal, but they are often attracted to light.

Prey: They feed by using their powerful curved jaws that project out the front. Wind scorpions are rapidly-moving predators that readily attack prey. They feed on almost any invertebrate and have been known to feed on lizards and other small vertebrates.

Life Cycle: Females bury their eggs and some guard them. Wind scorpions are short lived, probably surviving only one year.

Venom: Also known as sunspiders, windspiders, and sunscorpions; they do not have venom glands but are capable of biting. Present throughout the western and southern parts of the state, they are not known or at least uncommon in east Texas. They are primarily found in deserts and dry areas.

Information and pictures were taken from children's projects and where credited to that child does not claim to be original information. Where possible, permission to reproduce has been sought. Any infringement of copyright is purely unintentional.

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