Potato Bug in Phoenix, AZ
Location: Phoenix, AZ
May 17, 2011 2:12 pm
Thanks for this site!!! My 4-year-old found this. I thought it was so scary/dangerous looking. So glad I could find it quickly and know what to do. It was on our driveway in the sun moving very slowly and looking almost dead. We put it in a jar and I brought it inside to look up what it was. I assume I am correct in identifying it as a Jerusalem Beetle. After finding out that it’s a digger, I wondered if maybe it was just too hot/dry on my driveway. Took it back outside let it go. It was fine (not dying at all). Here are some of my photos in case you’d like to post them.
Signature: chickendar


i was wrong
Location: Phoenix, AZ
May 17, 2011 2:16 pm
Just sent you some photos of what I thought was a potato bug….looking again, i’m thinking i was wrong. SO….
yikes! what is it??
Signature: chickendar


Dear chickendar,
You are absolutely right that you were wrong, though this was an easy mistake to make.  Superficially, the Jerusalem Cricket or Potato Bug does resemble your Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion, though they are quite different creatures.  Your Sun Spider is an Arachnid, not an insect.  It is a wonderfully engineered predator, and though its common names imply that it is venomous, it contains no poisons.  Though the Sun Spider poses no venomous threat, it has mandibles fully capable of delivering a painful bite if it is carelessly handled.  It belongs to the order Solifugae.  More scientific common names that reflect the changing taxonomy through the years include Solifugid, Solfugid and Solpugid.  Here is a link to information posted to BugGuide.

thanks so much!  my husband has lived in phoenix his whole life and had never seen one of these!  scary looking, but we had a lot of fun watching it.  so glad it’s not venomous.
thanks for your time and help.  what a great resource/website.

Location: Arizona

4 Responses to Sun Spider mistaken for Jerusalem Cricket

  1. Jessi says:

    One can definitely see how this critter could easily be confused for a potato bug!

  2. Skylar says:

    This site was very helpful! My family saw a Potato Bug just last night in our basement. Come to find out it was actually a Sun Spider!

  3. My daughter just found one of these sun spiders….it was very aggressive towards her when she touched it. My question is how dangerous is this thing and how did it get to my yard I live in California? What can I do to get rid of them? Will they hurt my dogs or cats? Please help. Thank you Teressa

    • bugman says:

      Solifugids are native to Southern California and they are not dangerous. According to BugGuide: “They lack venom, but the strong jaws may inflict a sharp bite in self-defense if handled. The most common species are quite small and can hardly be felt except for a slight “pinch”. Larger members (e.g., Eremorhax spp.) have been known to draw blood. Immediately disinfect the bite.” We do not provide extermination advice.

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