Friday, April 16, 2004

All Creatures Great & Small

Our Lord God made them all: Meet Solifugae a.k.a. the Camel Spider:
There is a large number of arachnid species in UAE but perhaps none has more respect in the popular imagination as the solifugae, or camel spider. ...

These creatures are nocturnal, spending days in a tiny burrow or hole which it has dug itself. They are unlikely to be encountered in the colder months, but during the warmer period of the year they can infest some areas. Members report being "overrun" by camel spiders while camping in gravelly desert south of AI Wagan, on the Al Ain - Al Liwa road. The spiders were apparently attracted by firelight and moved extremely fast, running over soft sand, hard-packed gravel, or bodies, with equal ease. . ...

Mating habits are different from those of other arachnids. The male courts the female by stroking her with his pedipalpi and forelegs. This reduces her to a passive state, as if anaesthetized, whereupon the male lays her on her side. Raising his body he ejects a mass of spermatozoa onto the ground, picks it up with his chelicerae and forces it into the vagina. He closes the opening and waits a few moments and then hurriedly departs before the female has a chance to grab and eat him. has yet to determine whether this purported photo of two huge Camel Spiders is real. It's certainly convincing, but I suspect Snopes is right:
Although whatever is depicted in the photograph above appears to be far too large for camel spiders, the creatures might just look unusually large because they were held close to the camera, creating an illusion of exaggerated size.
Looks like in the photo that the sleeve of the guy holding them (dangling them from a pair of pliers, I think) is very large, too, and therefore much closer to the camera than the guys in the background. Still, check out this legit video of a camel spider attacking a scorpion. I say, avoid at all costs.

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