Do you have any information on this kind of spider?

Dear Chas,
You take the prize for the best photograph ever. Camel Spiders are actually Solpugids, not true spiders and related to scorpions. They are fierce hunters. Here is a letter we received last year that contains opinions and may or may not contain facts.

(11/3/2003) Camel Spider
I just basically just stumbled upon your website. Very interesting to say the least. Anyway, after looking at all the various insect pictures people have sent in for identification, I thought I would share this picture with you. Seems kind of appropriate for the Halloween season: Well, here is the nastiest creature God ever placed on this earth. This is what I had to deal with while in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm … I present to you the infamous “Camel Spider”. A vicious insect that lives in the middle eastern deserts. Although they are not actually spiders, they resemble a cross between a spider and a scorpion. Also called the sun spider, solpugid, wind scorpion, and a host of other terrible names that do not come close to describing the pure, unadulterated evil that makes up this ‘hell-spawned’ beast. The Camel Spider can grow to the size of a coffee cup saucer , it can run upwards of 5 miles an hour and j ump several feet into the air . That’s not the worst part either. The worst part comes when they catch you. (And they will catch you.) Although they are not poisonous, Camel Spiders will inflict a horrible bite. It will jump on you and run up your back until it finds exposed flesh. If you’re wearing shorts, it will go for your legs; otherwise it may go all the way up to your face or neck . Its mouth opens four ways to become 4 very sharp fangs. If you are sleeping, i t has been known to eat at your face and rip at the flesh. Don’t worry, its saliva will numb the wound almost instantaneously… by destroying the nerve endings. The saliva also inhibits healing. When your nose grows back , it’ll be hideously scarred. I honestly believe if these evil creatures were the size of a German Shepard, they would rule the earth!
Ron Larson,
Army Missile Command
Redstone Arsenal, AL

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the information on Camel Spiders. Actually what happed is my cousin emailed me the “infamous photo” and I was under the impression that one of her GI friends sent it to her, but that was not the case, it is a circulating email. however when I got it I was in awe I’m not a huge fan of spiders in fact they make me very nervous and to see such a picture it really got me, I thought oh my goodness do these spiders really exist and if so can they hurt me? so I started a search one day and found your website and sent it to you so you could sent me more information on the Camel Spider. The only thing I’ve ever heard about Camel Spiders are those stories from GI’s in the Middle East and they all say that the Camel Spider will jump and bite you, you’ll never know it however because of the venom has a numbing affect. So being terrified as I was I wanted to get some expert advice, and I tell you what I am glad I went to your website because this is very, very interesting. Thank you and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the “infamous photo”

Editor’s Update:  Internet Hysteria
September 12, 2009
It seems some information we had included in this original posting was lost when our site migrated last year in September.  This image was widely circulated on the internet.  The photo is an excellent example of how to distort size and scale relationships in camera to create the illusion that things appear differently than they really are.  We have all seen the writing on the mirror that claims “objects in mirror are closer than they appear” and the same is true when a wide angle lens is used to exaggerate a scale relationship.  Camel Spiders are big by American standards, but nowhere near the huge creatures that this photograph implies.  We continue to find this photograph highly amusing.

5 Responses to Giant Camel Spider? Internet Hysteria

  1. Javen says:

    I truly don’t understand how this is continuously misrepresented as one creature… from the beginning it seems obvious, to me, that one has the other’s abdomen in its jaws, and that they seem tiny compared to the pliers and hand holding it… 🙁

    • bugman says:

      Dear Javen,
      Thanks for your comment. We tried to make it very clear how a wide angle lens created the illusion of gargantuan Camel Spiders, but everyone on the internet does not visit our website.

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