Photo Credit: JLplusAL
The camel spider - also known as the wind scorpion or sun spider - has taken its place amongst many tall tales and urban legends. They are technically not spiders (which are within the order Araneae) as they are in the Solifugue order, which translates from Latin as "those that flee from the sun". They are desert-dwelling opportunistic carnivores that hunt nocturnally and flee from the sun during they day. Although camel spiders sightings are most often reported in the Middle East, they are also species native to the Southwest United States and Mexico. Troops coming back from the Middle East have only added more infamy to the already existing stories. So what is fact and what is fiction?
Camel spiders get their name from eating the underbellies of camels. It might be that they got their name because these creatures hide from the sun and could have often been found in the shadow of camels. Although this order spans across the world, they are only found in arid and dry desserts.
True of False: They will scream as they run after humans.
Often people have felt that camel spiders are chasing them but really they are chasing their shadow and the shade. If a person stands still, the camel spider will stay in the shade of the shadow cast. Camel spiders do not scream, some species will hiss but most do not make any sound. Camel spiders will shun the sun and during the day seek either shade or a place where they can dig a burrow to get out of the sun. However at night, light will attract a camel spider and they will run towards it. Most often, camel spiders will hunt at night and seek burrows or shade during the day.