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Re: Project Exploration (sun spiders)



I've had some particularly interesting personal experiences and encounters
with solpugids in Iran, where they are called "camel spiders" by Europeans
and "roteil" in Persian (Farsi), and in Pakistan (where, factoring in
leg-spread, individuals can span a small dinner plate).

Frequently, small armies of solpuids would be attracted to the many insects
drawn to my camp lights (Aladdin kersosene lanterns), and the perimeter of
the light thrown by the lanterns around the campsite as I prepared mammal
and herp specimens would be audibly marked by the crunching sounds of
feasting solpugids, which are primarily nocturnal hunters.

I daresay the USNM's holdings of Middle Eastern solpuids profited greatly
from my incidental collections!

I've also published a brief account describing the "terrifying" experience
of a LACM / Page Museum vertebrate paleo team, led by Bill Akersten, which I
had brought in to re-open the Maragheh fossil mammal beds in Iranian
Azarbaijan. They found the unexpected nocturnal swarms of solpugids drawn to
their lit tents a bit -- to say the least -- unsettling. When I brought the
team supplies from Teheran after their encounter, I found myself spending
several hours explaining the non-venomous, albeit aggressive, nature of
solpugids to each team member. My Iranian associates that I assigned to the
project were no less unnerved.

Having been bitten by several large solpugids (my forceps weren't always
within reach), I can say that infection is a risk, however.

-= Tuck =-


 ----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Kinman" <kinman@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 7:20 PM
Subject: Re: Project Exploration (sun spiders)


>
>      The common names sun spider, solifuge, and solipugid are all fine in
my
> opinion, but "wind scorpion" is an unfortunate misnomer.  Actually "wind
> pseudoscorpion" would be a very accurate common name, but that is sort of
a
> mouthful.  :-)
>      They range in size from about half an inch up to around 2 inches.
But
> unlike some tarantulas, these nasty arachnids would definitely not make
good
> pets.
>      Sun spiders are closely related to pseudoscorpions, whose common name
> at least makes it clear that there is only a vague resemblance to
scorpions.
>   Anyway, both solipugids and pseudoscorpions are closer to spiders and
> mites than they are to scorpions, so "sun spider" is definitely preferable
> to "wind scorpion".
>                        -------Ken  :-)
> P.S.  I should add this to the list of reasons for recognizing Class
> Scorpionea (for scorpions and sea scorpions) separate from Class
Arachnidea.
>   "Sea scorpion" is definitely a valid common name for eurypterids, since
> the similarity to scorpions actually turned out to be due to close
> relationship.
> ********************************************************
> >From: Danvarner@aol.com
> >Reply-To: Danvarner@aol.com
> >To: conradjack@hotmail.com
> >CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
> >Subject: Re: Project Exploration comes home
> >Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 11:56:55 EST
> >
> >In a message dated 12/11/00 8:32:06 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> >conradjack@hotmail.com writes:
> >
> ><< One particular picture is of
> >  an arachnid called a solifuge.  When you put the cursor on the picture,
> >the
> >  word "no T.V." come up.  We kept some gladiator solifuges and fed them
> >for
> >  entertainment in Gadoufoua. >>
> >
> >   The photo Jack is talking about is at:
>
>http://www.projectexploration.org/cgi-bin/imageFolio.cgi?action=view&link=S
aha
> >
> >ra&image=solifuge.jpg&img=&tt=img
> >   The cool thing is you can send it as a postcard! I've also heard them
> >called Solpugids and wind scorpions. The members of the Polish-Mongolian
> >expeditions used to keep a wary eye out for them. Folklore had it that
they
> >were very poisonous. How big were these, Jack? I had a little one appear
in
> >a
> >screen I was using for sifting once in South Dakota.
> >   Someday, the horror movie industry is going to discover these. The way
> >they
> >use their huge mandibles is very distressing. DV
>
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