Solifugae is an order of animals that includes more than 1000 species. They are also known as camel spiders, wind scorpions, sun spiders, or solifuges. They are arachnids, but are not scorpions or spiders.
Like spiders, their body includes two segments, but they are not as mobile as spiders as they do not spin webs.
There is no evidence that any known species of solifugae is venomous. They do not have venom glands or a way to deliver venom such as fangs like a spider or a stinger like a scorpion.
They get along just fine without having venom. They have large chelicerae, which is the name for their mouth parts or jaws. Solifugae have the largest jaws of any terrestrial invertebrate of their size. They use them to cut and chop up their prey. After their prey is chopped up, they release an enzyme to liquidize their food so they can ingest it.
Solifugae are carnivorous and most species eat insects, small lizards, amphibians, rodents, snakes, and small birds. They are aggressive hunters.
Solifugae are also pretty fast! Their top speed is estimated to be 10 mph. An average man jogs around 8 mph, so you’d have to go faster than a jog to outrun them!
There are reports of people being chased by solifugae. They don’t actually chase people, but they chase people’s shadows. They just want to sit in the shade where its cooler.
Solifugae rarely attack humans or pets, but when they do, their bite can be painful.
Most solifugae live in warm and dry climates and live in most deserts. The only places they are not found are Antarctica and Australia. About 120 species are found in North America with most of them in the southwestern United States. There are even some in Canada. The majority of species can be found in the Middle Eastern deserts.
The species found in the United States don’t get very big. They may be 5/8 to 1-3/4 inches long. The largest species in the world is 5 to 6 inches long including the legs.