April 27, 2007

Creepy Crawler Carnival #1: Solpugids

I've decided that in order to make the inevitable discovery of assorted many-legged (and no-legged) organisms in and around our new home less, well, creepy, I will instead be celebrating each such encounter with gusto and vigor here on my blog. That's right, we will delight together in the overall creepiness of each entry in our own miniature "freakshow." I will also attempt to de-creepify these amazing creatures by explaining what makes each of them so cool and uniquely adapted for survival in the Arizona semi-arid desert scrublands. So, if anyone reading this is creeped out by these types of organisms and is planning to visit us at some point in the future (i.e., assorted members of the Renslow family), you may want to skip any post that is titled like this one.
Note: No solpugids were harmed in the making of this post.

Creepy Crawler Carnival #1

(Eremobates durangonus)

Also known by the common names camel spider, wind scorpion, and sun scorpion, solpugids are not actually spiders nor scorpions. This little guy was discovered cowering in the corner of our kitchen doorjam by Sonja. I was pleasantly surprised that Sonja didn't freak out when she saw it. Instead, she simply said (rather nonchalantly, I might add), "Paul, there's a wierd spider thing over here." It was relatively easy to catch, and spent only a few minutes in the wine glass you see above (just long enough to snap a few pictures) before being released back into the wilds of our backyard.

One of the more interesting features of solpugids are its pedipalps, those two long, black-tipped leg-things in front. These are actually modified legs that have become sensory organs, used to find prey while walking around (rather quickly, I might add) on the other six legs.

Unlike other arachnids (like spiders and scorpions), solpugids have no venom, so they are relatively harmless. However, I've been told that getting bitten by one isn't particularly enjoyable, either. And after getting a close look at its jaws (chelicerae), I don't think I ever want to experience it. They do make this creature a rather formidable foe to all sorts of other crawlies (like spiders and scorpions, for instance), so having these in your home could actually be considered a good thing. Unless you like spiders and scorpions, I guess.


Janine Renslow said...

THANKS for the info Paul!! HOPEFULLY, most of these creatures will still be sleeping underground when we come visit next spring break!!! :o) Janine

Sarah REnslow said...

OMG I hate your house now!!!!! It was in you kitchen!!! You let it go!!!!! I am not really going to enjoy coming to your house now !!! How about we just meet at a hotel or somthing!!!!!! R they in the guest bedroom?????? R they big???? or in the Bathroom?? or shower?? well you will need to deal with my oder because i wont be taking a shower at your home!!!!!!!!! Well.....
totally creeped by bugs, Sarah Renslow

P. Ollig said...

I wouldn't worry about the bugs when you come. Rather, I think you should be hoping we don't get a repeat of what happened last night.

Around 2:30am, one (probably two, actually) of these got into our garage and starting fighting with each other or something else. Well, sure they look all cute and everything, but when they feel threatened they spray the most rancid, foul-smelling stink you've ever experienced. I think Sonja's going to be spending most of the day trying to de-stinkify the garage.

G said...

Love the first Creepy Crawler Carnival post. Keep them coming. How big do they get?

P. Ollig said...

Oh, you can be sure that there will be more Creepy Crawler Carnivals. Just have to wait for the next one to show up.

I would have done another for the ringtails that odorized our garage, but I don't think they would ever qualify as "creepy".

Sinclair said...

I borrowed these photos for my blog post today about these spiders. I referenced your site, linked this story, and credited you for the photos. If you would prefer that I not use your photos, please let me know and I will remove them. I thought they were wonderful, and my camera could never capture the same quality of spider image!

Anonymous said...

Ok, those creepy looking camel spiders (or whatever the correct term is for them) better not get through customs check point(s) anywhere in America or they may just become top of the spider kingdom here. It would be interesting, however; to see how well snakes, alligators, crocs, badgers, and especially tarantula hawks (tarantula killers)welcome them as new prey or target practice :)

Anonymous said...

Great photo. How large was it? I just caught one last night the body is about the size of a quarter. Regards J near Flagstaff AZ