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What are Solifuges?

HaarskeederHave you ever in your life seen anything so weird as this?? Found this on our outside deck! Had to do some research on this creature – Hannes calls it a haarskeeder!

Members of the order Solifugae,  usually referred to as solifuges, solifugids, solpugids or by an assortment of vernacular names (e.g., camel spiders, false spiders, haarskeerders, jagspinnekoppe, jerrymanders, roman spiders, sun spiders, walzenspinnen, wind scorpions), are a diverse and fascinating, yet poorly known, order of specialized, mostly nocturnal, cursorial hunting arachnids notable for their massively powerful two-segmented chelicerae, voracious appetite, and tremendous speed (Punzo, 1998).  They constitute the sixth most diverse order of arachnids in number of families, genera, and species (Harvey, 2002).  Many solifuges are able to run at extremely fast speeds (53 cm/sec) for short bursts, but like most arachnids, cannot sustain such rapid locomotion for long periods.  Solifuges vary from a few millimeters to 10 centimeters in length and look superficially like stout, hairy, fast-running spiders with an extra pair of legs (leg-like, sensory pedipalps, held out in front of the body). 

Sunspiders are not really spiders. They are a very important animal group in Namibia, which has the highest diversity of sunspiders in the world, and many peculiar endemic species. According to current theories, Namibia is also the place from where sunspiders evolved. As part of the research project, three scientists from Germany are in Namibia to collect sunspiders for research. 

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