Sun Spider from South Africa: Possible Case of Unnecessary Carnage

What IS it??
Location: Polokwane, South Africa
December 21, 2011 3:29 pm
This was in our house. Ran quickly. Looks like a huge ant but has 8 legs like a spider.
Signature: DJ

Solifugid appears to be victim of Unnecessary Carnage

Dear DJ,
This is a species of Solifugid, a member of the Arachnid order Solifugae.  Though they are related to both Spiders and Scorpions, Solifugids do not have venom and they are not considered dangerous to humans.  Solifugids are sometimes called Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions.  Solifugids are generally found in arid climates and species from the Middle East which are known as Camel Spiders can grow quite large.  It appears that your Solifugid might have been smashed as evidenced by what appears to be bodily fluids at the end of the abdomen.  If this is the case, we would like to educate you regarding the benefits of this harmless, nocturnal hunter.   Though they appear to be frightening, Solifugids are not harmful to human or pets, unless you keep small arthropods as pets.  It is possible that a Solifugid might bite a human if they are carelessly handled, but since there is no venom involved, the bite is harmless.  If they are present in or near your home, Solifugids will help to control the population of Cockroaches and other creatures that you might find undesirable. 

6 thoughts on “Sun Spider from South Africa: Possible Case of Unnecessary Carnage”

  1. Hi all,

    We saw same insect in Victoria Falls Safari Lodge Zimbabwe in March 2015. We thought that is a spider and could be dangerous so we stay away from it. Size is approx. 5-6 cm long.
    We found another spider in our bedroom, called Flattie spider, approx. 2-3 cm long.

  2. One of these insects walked into my home in Randvaal Area; Midvaal South Africa. I did not kill it but it scared the bejeebers out of me. First time I have seen one like this.

  3. Solifugae are common in northern Iran, where they grow to the size of your palm and are known as camel spiders. I can assure you, though they may not inject poisonous venom, their bite is eye-wateringly painful. They are described by naturalists as having the strongest jaws for their size in the animal kingdom. We know someone who was hospitalized after being bitten on his foot through his wellington boot. They are also aggressive and have no fear of chasing you. I was once asked to bring back live specimens for a London Zoo, but declined as I was told they do not survive in captivity. Fearsome, yes, but they form part of the world we live in, so no need to cause them harm.


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