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Camel Spiders

Camel spiders fall under the order Solifugae in the class Arachnida, which is outside of the typical spider order of Araneae.  The camel spider has only two tagma or sections: the abdomen and the prosoma, which is the head and thorax region combined.  As a measure of protection, they also have large chelicerae that serve as jaws.  Camel spiders feed on arthropods and other small animals including termites, beetles, snakes, lizards, and small rodents.  The chelicerae are used to kill and then cut the prey into pieces.  Interestingly, camel spiders liquefy their prey and ingest it through the pharynx.

Although urban legends have portrayed camel spiders to be huge, quick, lethal creatures, they only grow to be about six inches long and are non-venomous.  Still, a very frightening spider as their powerful jaws can inflict a painful bite; however, not lethal to humans.  The camel spider can travel at rate of up to ten miles per hour across flat desert land using only the three posterior sets of legs. They can also be found less pervasively in forests and grasslands.

Camel spiders are out of the ordinary as they can reproduce using either direct or indirect sperm transfer.  The smaller camel spiders are typically males and have unusually long legs.  Indirect sperm transfer involves the male camel spider emitting his sperm onto the ground, flipping the female onto his back, and then inserting soiled sperm into the female’s genitalia using his chelicerae.  The female then creates a burrow where she lays upwards of two hundred eggs inside, furthering the species of Camel Spiders.

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