Solifugae


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Solifugae

 

(wind scorpions), an order of arthropods of the class Arachnoidea.

Wind scorpions measure 1 to 7 cm in length and are covered with long hairs. The body is divided into a céphalothorax, a thorax consisting of two segments, and an abdomen consisting of ten segments. The coloration is brown-yellow or mottled. The céphalothorax bears a pair of central simple eyes and a pair of lateral ones. There are six pairs of appendages: the first pair are clawlike chelicerae that serve as defense organs and for tearing apart prey, the second pair are pedipalps that serve a sensory function and are used to seize prey, the third pair are tactile organs, and the fourth through sixth pairs are walking legs. The sexes are separate. Wind scorpions are oviparous and develop without metamorphosis.

There are 570 species of wind scorpions, distributed in the tropics and subtropics. The USSR has approximately 70 species, found in the southern European part of the country, in Kazakhstan, and in Middle Asia. Wind scorpions live in deserts, semi-deserts, and mountains. They are nonpoisonous, primarily nocturnal animals. The diet consists of various invertebrates.

REFERENCES

Bialynitskii-Birulia, A. A. “Falangi (Solifuga).” Moscow-Leningrad, 1938. (Fauna SSSR: Paukoobraznye, vol. 1, fase. 3.)
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh,vo\. 3. Moscow, 1969.
Dogel’, V. A. Zoologiia bespozvonochnykh, 6th ed. Moscow, 1975.

A. V. IVANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The order Solifugae was found in the area where wood had been cut six months (T1) earlier, for collections made during the dry season (Table 3) and the start of the first rains (Table 2).
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It seems likely that the dominance of the mygalomorph spiders in Australia may be due to the absence of competition from wind scorpions (Solifugae), which do not occur there.
At the level of taxonomic order, Orthoptera was the most frequently preyed upon taxon (44.1%), followed by Coleoptera (26.8%), Solifugae (16.2%), Lepidoptera (3.5%), Phasmida (3%), and Hemiptera (2.7%); most orders were represented by <1% of the total (Table 1).
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Solifugae, known colloquially as camel spiders, are mostly nocturnal arachnids known for their powerful two-segmented chelicerae, voracious appetites, and fast running speeds (Punzo 1998a; Beccaloni 2009).