These terrifying arachnids known as ‘sun spiders’ use powerful scissoring jaws to slowly devastate their prey.
Solifuges are commonly referred to as ‘camel spiders’, or ‘sun spiders’ although they are most closely related to scorpions. They are desert-dwelling animals, preferring the arid habitats of warm biomes and often shaded semi-desert scrubs. Sun spiders are large, tan, and hairy and grow between 5-6 inches in length.
Although it appears that solifuges have ten legs, two of them are actually sensory organs called pedipalps, used to feel out and hold potential prey in place. Their most nightmarish characteristics are the two pinching claw-like appendages that serve as their jaw, called chelicerae. These jaws are powerful enough to slice through tissues and cartilage of small animals. The chelicerae are not only capable of tearing but they subsequently move back and forth in a sawing motion in order to crush their prey to death.
Sun spiders are carnivorous animals with a ravenous appetite for any species of organism they encounter. Their diet consists primarily of termites, beetles, and other small insects, but also snakes, lizards, and rodents.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
This arachnid has commonly been associated with horror stories throughout human history, beginning with their first relationship overseas in the Middle East. Soldiers during the Gulf War photographed these creatures at angles making them appear gigantic, with the capacity for jumping huge distances and chasing people down across the desert.
While in truth these solifuges are unique animals capable of decimating insects and small prey, they are no major threat to larger species.