Appropos of not much, I’ll just mention that the roomie is something of an expert ( and there ain’t many ) in the systematics of the Solifugae. If you ask REAL NICE maybe he’ll start a thread for y’all called “Ask the Solpugid Guy” .
Here’s a link to his annotated bibliography of Solpugid literature:
When I was young and fresh out of school I had a job prospecting in a mountainous part of the Arabian penninsula. We lived in tents out in the boonies for months and got to know the local critters. Scorpions and camel spiders were pretty much routine and, for a brief period in the spring when there was some light rain our tent camp was infested with camel spiders. I didn’t find them aggressive at all and in fact considered them pretty stupid. I do remember seeing one on the floor of the kitchen tent holding a chunk of meat with its front legs, rotating the piece of meat around rapidly as it ate. I usually wore those thin water buffalo leather sandals from India and I thought nothing of casually stepping on camel spiders and squashing them if I encountered them while strolling through camp. Somewhere in my boxes of photos I have a picture of one dead in a footprint in the sand with my sunglasses thrown down beside it and it makes the sunglasses look small. I remember one time a bunch of our local labourers brought a young fellow to me who was hysterical and holding his arm and told me he’d been bitten by an “abu shebik” (spelling?) which translates as father or grandfather of the camel, which is what they called camel spiders. He got over it.
One time we Canadians put a camel spider and a scorpion under a big glass salad bowl (well, we didn’t have any TV to watch) to see what would happen. They avoided each other at first so we moved the bowl around until they bumped into each other. Then they squared off in fighting mode but the scorpion just whomped the spider once between the eyes with its tail and the spider sort of leaned back, froze, and never moved again. I’ve always felt kind of bad about doing that.
Anyway, they were never agressive towards us and we didn’t worry about them. They were kind of cute running quickly across the open ground through our camp, in a big rush to get somewhere. They were fast but not super fast and a human could outrun them.
Boolean’s description is fantastic (especially about suckers attaching to your face!), but my answer to “can you believe what that page says??!” is, well, “No!”.
I know little to nothing of solifigids, but an 8" insect running at 30MPH? It’s a little tough to swallow – something with 4 inch legs running a two minute mile!
Let’s see, with at least 6 legs fore, aft and middle, that means a stride length at the very maximum of say 4inches (and the way insects walk, I would guess closer to 2). To get 30MPH these guys have to be taking 132 steps per second (or 260 for the realistic estimate). (and remember, that’s per leg)
Insect wings beating that fast? Sure, no problem. 4 inch legs that can support an arthropod that hunts and tussles with prey? Well, hard for me to imagine.
IANA entomologist, but I also wonder how much exactly an arthropod with an exoskeleton can “eat until their belly is so distended they can’t move”.
Maybe they’re distantly related to the hotheaded naked ice borers featured in, I think it was Discover Magazine, a few springs ago.