Camel spiders are not spiders, and they’re definitely not camels (they don’t even have camel legs!). Camel spiders, or the Solifugae, are a totally independent arachnid order. The Solifugae are found in desert habitats throughout the world and are sometimes known as wind scorpions and sun spiders.
Let’s learn more about these arachnids that live in the desert.
Camel Spider Facts At A Glance
- Wind scorpions, sun spiders, scorpion carriers, and solifuges are some of the other names for this insect.
- Order: Solifugae
- Type of Animal: Arachnid (members of the class Arachnida)
- Where Found: Arid regions across the world
- Body Length: Up to 7 cm (3 in)
- Weight: Up to 56 g (2 ounces)
Meet The Camel Spiders: Introduction
Spider-like arachnids known as camel spiders The arachnid order Solifugae includes these enigmatic, understudied invertebrates. Wind scorpions and sun spiders are two other popular names for animals in this category.
There are roughly 1,100 camel spider species now known. There are 12 families that contain 153 genera.
*Are you confused by words like genus and family? Everything will become clear when you check out our Animal Classifications page!
What Do Camel Spiders Look Like?
Camel spiders are generally beige or brown in color, with hairy bodies and legs. The smallest are barely under 1 cm (0.4 in) in head-body length, while the biggest can reach lengths of up to 15 cm (6 in) (including legs). Their size varies dramatically from species to species.
The camel spider’s body is split into two tagmata (segments): the opisthosoma (the abdomen) and the prosoma (a portion that incorporates the animal’s head and thorax), much as with genuine spiders. The opisthosoma of a camel spider is split into ten sections.
(The head, thorax, and abdomen of an insect are all tagmata.)
The pair of large chelicerae (modified pincer-like jaws) is the most prominent feature of the camel spider’s prosoma. These can account for a third of an animal’s body length in certain species.
Camel spiders have four pairs of segmented legs and two pedipalps, which are tactile leg-like appendages. The pedipalps are split into five segments, whereas the genuine legs are seven. Adhesive organs that are utilized for hunting and mating are located on the tips of the pedipalps.
Although their legs are usually longer, male camel spiders are often smaller than female camel spiders. Flagella structures are seen on the male chelicerae, but not on the female.
Female and male camel spiders have comparable legs, but the males are generally smaller than the females. Flagella, structures that are not found in females, are found on the male’s chelicerae.
Where Do Camel Spiders Live?
Camel spiders are found in tropical and subtropical desert regions in many parts of the world. They are present in Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, North America and South America. Notably, they are absent from the arid regions of Australia.
In southern Africa, where they are known by a variety of names, including “red romans,” 22% of the world’s camel spider species may be found. Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa was the location for this shot.
Camel Spider Habitat
Warm, dry (arid) places are ideal for camel spiders. While some species may be found in scrubland, grassland, and forest environments, they are mostly seen in deserts.
Most camel spiders are nocturnal, as the term Solifugae suggests. Unfortunately, not all of them are. During the day, camel spiders hide under rocks or in subterranean burrows.
By rubbing their chelicerae together, several camel spiders create a defensive rattling or clicking sound.
Camel spiders are fast runners, with one individual achieving a speed of 16 km/h (10 mph)
The metabolic rate of camel spiders is extremely high, allowing them to be on the move nearly constantly. This, on the other hand, comes at a cost: a camel spider’s metabolic rate is high, thus it spends much of its time hunting for food.
Camel spiders are most often found in desert habitats.
Camel Spider Life Cycle
Typically, the male approaches the female, touching her with his pedipalps. Occasionally, females have been observed to attack their partners during mating.
A male produces a spermatophore (a package of sperm) after making first contact. The sperm is either inserted straight into the female’s reproductive aperture or indirectly, with the male using his chelicerae to pick up and transfer the spermatophore.
The female creates a burrow after mating, where she deposits around 50 to 200 eggs. The female aggressively guards both her eggs and the newly-hatched young from potential predators, and some camel spider species are known to exhibit parental care.
Camel spiders that have just hatched are clustered together in a translucent-white color. The nymphal instars are a series of phases that the young go through. Before maturity, several species go through nine to ten instar phases.
When they hit the second instar level, the young begin looking for food.
Camel spider (Rhagoderma tricolor) photographed in the Negev desert in Israel.
What Do Camel Spiders Eat?
Carnivorous camels spiders exist. They are considered to be the most important invertebrate predators in desert environments, alongside scorpions.
Termites, beetles, wasps, spiders, scorpions, and silverfish are among the arthropods that the majority camel spider species prey on. Camel spiders have been seen hunting and eating tiny vertebrates, including rats, lizards, birds, and snakes, according to records.
Camel spiders are aggressive hunters who actively move around in search of prey, unlike true spiders, who generally employ a sit-and-wait strategy. Camel spiders rear up on their back legs and grasp their meal with the help of their sticky organs at the tips of their pedipalps when they come upon a prey animal.
Camel spiders use their chelicerae to chop and saw their victim into pieces once they have captured it. After that, they coat the dissected victim with digestive fluids. Enzymes in these fluids digest the carcass of the prey. The liquid remnants are then pulled into the camel spider’s mouth.
Camel Spider Predators
Bats, scorpions, and toads are among the predators that hunt camel spiders.
Are Camel Spiders Dangerous To Humans?
The camel spider’s jaws are capable of causing a severe bite. Camel spiders are not poisonous and pose no real danger to people, despite the numerous colorful legends about them.