The wind scorpion has alarmed many individuals due to its spider-like appearance and fast mobility. A solifuge bite was blamed for the development of painful lesions in an Arizona resident, but the claim could not be confirmed due to a lack of a specimen.
The big, strong chelicerae of a healthy specimen may cause a painful nip, but little lasting damage. Humans are safe from harm from wind scorpions. When attacked or startled, wind scorpions will strike.
This will drive them to bite, but as they have no venom glands, the bite will be harmless. Put on an ice pack to ease the pain.
What Does a Wind Scorpion Look Like?
Common names for the over a thousand species of the arachnid class Arachnida that go by the name “sunspider” reflect their preference for warm, arid climates and the characteristic golden hue of their bodies. The order Solifugae was formerly known as Solpugida.
Wind scorpions, camel spiders, and solpugids are all names given to these creatures due to their unique appearances and characteristics.
Their front appendages are reminiscent of scorpion legs, and their opisthosoma (abdomen) is hairy and spherical like a spider’s. 10-50 mm (0.4-2 inches) in length. Typically, wind scorpions are nocturnal.
Larger species of wind scorpions are carnivorous enough to kill small vertebrates.
The first pair, called the chelicerae, resemble massive, toothed pincers, while the second pair, called the pedipalps, resemble legs and have suctorial points used for capturing prey.
Malleoli, which are racket-shaped organs on the back legs, may have a sensory function.
Read also: How Do Scorpions Get In The House?
What is the Anatomy of the Wind Scorpion?
Solifuges range in size from quite small (a few millimetres in body length) to somewhat huge (12-15 cm (5-6 in) in total length) arachnids.
The leg lengths of different species vary widely, therefore the derived averages are often deceptive.
The leg length is typically not included in the quoted body length when more practical dimensions are given. Maximum body length is 3 inches (7 cm).
Most species develop to a length of around 5 centimetres (2 inches), however, a few extremely diminutive species reach a size of less than 1 centimetre (0.4 inch) in total length.
The body design of the Solifugae, like that of the Araneae, consists of two main tagmata: the prosoma (or cephalothorax) and the opisthosoma (or 10-segmented abdomen).
Because of the enormous intersegmental membranes that separate the abdominal tergites and sternites, these animals may stretch to their full length and take in a huge meal.
There is not nearly as sharp a constriction and connecting tube or “pedicel” between the prosoma and opisthosoma in solifuges as there is in Araneae, as illustrated in the images.
Since solifuges lack spinnerets and silk, they do not spin webs, and the absence of the pedicel is another way in which they vary from spiders.
The abdomens of spiders need to be rather flexible so that they can spin webs, but the Solifugae lack this adaption.
The prosoma includes the cranium, mandibles, and somites that develop into the limbs.
A carapace, also known as a prosomal dorsal shield or peltidium, protects its soft interior. The peltidium is divided into three layers—the propeltidium, mesopeltidium, and metapeltidium.
The propeltidium houses the eyes, the pedipalps, the first two pairs of legs, and the chelicerae, which are disproportionately big in most species.
The third and fourth sets of legs are found in the meso- and metapeltidium. The chelicerae are employed for stridulation and as jaws in many species. Solifuges lack the third tagma that creates the “tail” of scorpions.
The word “cephalothorax,” which signifies a combined cephalon (or head) and thorax, has been called into question because there is now no fossil or embryological evidence showing that arachnids ever possessed a separate thorax-like division.
It has been argued that the term “abdomen” should not be used for spiders and other arachnids because opisthosoma houses organs such as the heart and lungs that are not found in the usual abdomen.
The Solifugae, like most other arachnids not belonging to the scorpion or Tetrapulmonata orders, do not have book lungs but instead have a well-developed tracheal system that inhales and exhales air via spiracles located on the abdomen (one pair of abdominal segments three and four and another unpaired spiracle on abdominal segment five).
In addition, like other palpigrades, they feature pulmonary sac-like opisthosomal protuberances in their embryos.
What Does the Wind Scorpion Eye Look Like?
The primary eyes of certain species are enormous. These “ocelli” or “simple eyes” are actually highly complex despite their appearance. Their form recognition abilities help in seeking and evading threats.
It is possible that these eyes are the culmination of the process by which a group of simple ocelli is combined to form a compound eye, and by which a compound eye is further subdivided into a simple eye.
Vestigial eyes are sometimes seen embedded in cuticle pits at odd angles.
These eyes often have atrophied lenses, but in certain species, nerves and pigment cells remain, suggesting they may be used to detect motion or alterations in light intensity.
What Does the Leg of the Wind Scorpion Look Like?
These components function similarly to those of other spiders. Despite appearances, only the back four legs of a Solifugae are actual limbs.
The first, or anterior, pair of the five leg-like appendages are not “actual” legs but pedipalps, and they only contain five segments apiece.
The Solifugae use their pedipalps not just for sensing their environment like insects’ antennae but also for walking, eating, and defending themselves.
They are not fully extended when walking normally but are held out to sense potential danger or prey, giving the impression of an extra set of limbs.
Because of the Solifugae’s reliance on touch, the front pair of real legs is typically shorter and thinner than the other three.
In several species, the smaller anterior pair lacks tarsi because it serves primarily as a sensory extension of the pedipalps.
Solifugae have a membrane suctorial organ at the tips of their pedipalps, which they employ to capture prey and carry water to their mouthparts for drinking and climbing smooth surfaces.
Typically, just the back three sets of legs are utilised during sprints. Malleoli, also known as racquet (or racket) organs, are fan-shaped sensory organs located on the undersides of the coxae and trochanters of the last pair of legs in the Solifugae.
The malleoli’s blades may or may not point forward at any given time. There is speculation that they are sensory organs used to sense vibrations in the ground, perhaps in search of danger, prey, or mates. Potential chemoreceptor structures.
In general, men have shorter statures and women have longer limbs. Males have two flagella, one on each chelicera, while females only have one.
Each of the male solifuge’s chelicera has one flagellum visible towards its tip in the following shot.
The flagella, which curve over the chelicerae, are frequently referred to as horns and are thought to have a sexual relationship, although their precise function remains unknown.
What is the Lifecycle of the Wind Scorpion?
The wind scorpions are classified as univoltine since they only produce eggs once a year.
Males engage in indirect sperm transfer by releasing a spermatophore on the ground, which the male subsequently utilises to implant his chelicerae into the female’s vaginal orifice.
To do this, he throws the woman so that she lands on her back. The female will then deposit anywhere from fifty to two hundred eggs in a tunnel she has dug, and depending on the species, she may stay in the nest to protect the young.
During this stage, the female does not eat in an effort to bulk up before giving birth; in the lab, scientists have observed a 5 cm (2.0 in) species devour more than 100 flies.
Egg, postembryo, ninth and tenth nymphal instars, and adult are all stages in a Solifugae’s life cycle.
How Do Wind Scorpions Infest the Home?
The female wind scorpion can deposit up to 50 eggs in sheltered places she has crafted out of rocks or other materials. They’ll make silk to use as a weapon against potential predators.
Once the eggs hatch, she will continue to protect her offspring at all costs, even if it means capturing food to feed them. It may take a few weeks for this to complete. The average lifespan of a solifugid is only 1-2 years.
The majority of their diet consists of insects, spiders, and small vertebrates like lizards. This primarily occurs at night, though on rare occasions they may be spotted during the day.
The wind scorpion lacks the pincers, venom, and web-making abilities of its real-life counterpart.
How Do I Get Rid of Wind Scorpions in the Home?
Since wind scorpions devour so many pesky insects, they are generally considered to be helpful. To release one outdoors after finding it inside, place it in a jar and cover the opening with paper.
To keep them out in the first place, you should seal any holes or crevices they could use to enter your property, such as those around the foundation or the windows and doors.
Read also: Are There Scorpions in Florida?
The Latin word for “those that flee from the sun” is “Solifugae,” hence the name of this group. Names such as Solpugida, Solpugides, Solpugae, Galeodea, and Mycetophorae are also used to refer to this group.
They are also known as sun spiders, scorpion carriers, jerrymunglums, camel spiders, wind scorpions, and scorpions.
They go by many names throughout southern Africa, including “red Romans,” “hair cutters,” and “beard cutters” (the last two referring to the myth that they use their powerful jaws to snip human and animal hair and beards).
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