Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 9, 2011

Wind Scorpion 2

This photo of a wind scorpion comes from an exterminator's website.

What the heck is a wind scorpion?!? Sorry to disappoint, but they aren’t scorpions at all. They are in the class Arachnida — spiders, ticks, mites, and true scorpions. Sometimes they’re called “sun spiders,” and in the Middle East “camel spiders” because of their humped profile. Their jaws can reach up to a third of their body length. As Mark Moffett describes graphically in his July 2004 National Geographic article: “Wielding those jaws like a combination pincer and knife, they chew their victims into pulp with a sawing motion. Then they exude an enzyme that liquifies the  flesh, which they suck into their stomachs.” Mm-m-m-m!

Apparently a wind scorpion will take on lizards, snakes, small birds, rodents. They weigh up to two ounces (!) and have leg spans up to five inches. Fearless, they are equipped with jaws larger in proportion to its body size than almost any other animal on Earth. Their sex lives are pretty vicious and dangerous, often with the male ending up as a meal. The July 2004 issue of National Geographic has a lively article if you want nightmare-inducing close-up photos of these fascinating creatures, or you can look here if you dare.

While the wind scorpion has been designated the official arachnid of the war in Iraq, here in Utah I am sure I’ve walked right by them numerous times. Because they are nocturnal and I am not, I never get to see them even though they and I occupy the same habitat. That makes me a little sad, since I would like to meet one… from a distance.

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4 Comments »

  1. These critters used to inhabit the trailer I lived in down on Shumway. Pretty creepy indeed… and large, and fast. I’ve been calling them Solpugids, or Camel Spiders. The first time I saw one run across the carpet, I got a casserole dish and put it on top of it so that my boyfriend (at the time) would get to see it when he came home. Otherwise I was sure he’d never believe that this insect was the size of a small mouse. He was thoroughly impressed.

    Comment by Tara Beresh — May 9, 2011 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

    • Casserole dish…. right side up, or upside down? It makes a pretty interesting visual either way! 😉 (from Kathryn’s sister, Becky)

      Comment by Becky — May 9, 2011 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  2. ‘ . . . the size of a small mouse . . .’???
    I am quite certain this critter would qualify under the ‘ROC rule’: If it can bite me, it is a candidate for reincarnation.’
    ROC

    Comment by leroque — May 10, 2011 @ 6:03 am | Reply

  3. I found one in my living room and i live in NW Oklahoma! Are they normally found in these parts and are they poisonous? never seen one before and i hope not to ever again!

    Comment by daly zimbelman — July 28, 2013 @ 10:30 pm | Reply


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