Myth Versus Reality Regading the Evil Camel Spider - Learn the truth about camel spiders in iraq
     
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Camel Spiders - What's The Deal?

picture of a camel spider Myth: In the deserts of the Near East, there are "camel spiders" which anaesthetize sleeping humans and eat large chunks of their flesh.

Fact: Most North Americans probably have not heard this legend (widespread in Arab countries) but it was disseminated to some degree by Gulf War veterans and also has been repeated by the uninformed narrator of at least one TV documentary.

"Camel spider" is a common name for solpugids, large non-spider arachnids found in desert regions. Solpugids have no venom, not even an anaesthetic, and are strictly predatory on smaller creatures.

 


Also known as Camel spider, Wind scorpions, Solifugid.
Galeodes arabs

Native to: Sinai desert.
This rarely imported species occasionally arrives in Egyptian shipments.

This weird looking arachnid is not in fact a scorpion or spider at all but belongs to its own order- solifugid. This species can attain a leg span of 5” and a body of 2”. Wind spiders are fast moving aggressive hunters, capable of over powering much larger prey than itself. Its front pair of legs are modified as feelers to detect and pull its prey into its large over sized jaws. Its three pairs of legs are capable of speed making this creature a fast moving killing machine.

The wind spider is adapted to life in the desert and can withstand the harsh environment well. As its name suggests it can sometimes be seen tumbling around in sand storms. To escape the worst of the environment they sometimes make burrows under bushes, buildings etc. The female will also make a burrow to lay her eggs.

This can be a challenging captive, but the examples we have imported recently have arrived in good condition. The wind spider is a seasonal animal so life expectance is not long, and growth is rapid due to their huge appetite. They are best kept in an aquarium with sand and potting compost mix, they don't require humidity but some will drink form shallow water dishes or damp cotton wool. Temperatures should be in the 80°F with a 10°F night drop. Temperature variations should be provided, with hot and cooler spots. The opportunity to burrow must be provided, especially when dealing with wild collected females.

Take a look at the size of this creature's jaws and you will appreciate the immense power, as previously mentioned overpowering a larger creature is not a problem. In the wild the diet would consist of small lizards & invertebrates, in captivity suitably sized commercial raised live foods are satisfactory.

Not much is known about the breeding cycle of this species, although the female is known to bury her eggs in a burrow. The hatching time is not known, so if you are lucky enough to have a female lay a clutch of eggs make sure you write notes of what happens, even if it is nothing at all.

Overall this is an amazing creature, not for the novice but if you have experience with inverts why not give it a go? The wind spider is not venomous in any way but those jaws can give a very painful bite, I have not been bitten myself, but I bet if it bites it won't let go!
From someone stationed in Baghdad. He was recently bitten by a camel spider which was hiding in his sleeping bag. I thought you'd like to see what a camel spider looks like. It'll give you a better idea of what our troops are dealing with. Enclosed is a picture of his friend holding up two spiders. Warning: not for the squeamish!

This picture is a perfect example of why you don't want to go to the desert. These are 2 of the biggest I've ever seen. With a vertical leap that would make a pro basketball player weep with envy (they have to be able to jump up on to a camels stomach after all), they latch on and inject you with a local anesthesia so you can't feel it feeding on you. They eat flesh, not just suck out your juices like a normal spider. I'm gona be having night mares after seeing this photo!

Camel Spiders
Origins:   It's hard enough for those serving in our country's armed forces to be sent halfway around the world, away from home and family. It's even worse to be stationed in some bleak desert outpost. But nobody should have to deal with creepy-crawlies the size of small cats in the

According to most spider experts, these claims are all false. Camel spiders (so named because, like camels, they can be found in sandy desert regions) grow to be moderately large (about a 5" leg span, but nowhere near as large as dinner plates; they can move very quickly in comparison to other arthropods (a top speed of maybe 10 MPH), but nothing close 25 MPH; they make no noise; and they capture prey without the use of either venom or anesthetic. Camel spiders rely on speed, stealth, and the (non-venomous) bite of powerful jaws to feed on small prey such as other arthropods (e.g., scorpions, crickets, pillbugs), lizards, and possibly mice or birds. They use only three pairs of legs in running; the frontmost pair (called pedipalpa) is held aloft and used in a similar manner to the antennae of insects. Camel spiders shun the sun and generally hide during the day, coming out at night to do their hunting.

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.

We don't yet know the origin of this photo or what it's supposed to depict, other than to note that the picture is generally circulated with text proclaiming it to be an image of some U.S. soldiers with camel spiders.

However, since we don't know the source of the picture, we can't yet rule out the possibility that some other misdirection was involved (e.g., digital manipulation, a misdescription of what the photograph depicts, some soldiers goofing around with plastic figures or something else spider-shaped, etc.). Camel Spider Camel spiders, also known as wind spiders, wind scorpions, and sun scorpions, are a type of arthropod found (among other places) in the deserts of the Middle East. They're technically not spiders but solifugae (although, like spiders, they belong to the class Arachnida). Camel spiders are the subject of a variety of legendary claims, many of them familiar to Americans because they were spread by U.S. servicemen who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and re-spread at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003: - Camel spiders can grow to be as large as dinner plates.

- Camel spiders can traverse desert sand at speeds up to 25 MPH, making screaming noises as they run.

- Camel spiders can jump several feet in the air.

- Camel spiders eat the stomachs of camels, hence the name "camel spider." (Legend includes the detail that camel spiders eat camel stomachs from either the outside in or the inside out. In the former case they supposedly jump up from the ground and grab onto camels' bellies from underneath; in the latter case exactly how spiders allegedly as large as dinner plates get into camels' stomachs intact remains unexplained.)

The infamous pussy files! - Camel spiders are venomous, and their venom contains a powerful anesthetic that numbs their victims (thus allowing them to gnaw away at living, immobilized animals without being noticed). U.S. soldiers were said to have been attacked by camel spiders at night but remained completely unaware of their plight until they awakened in the morning to find chunks of their flesh missing.



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