For the past three weeks, I’ve been catching one of these Sun Spiders or Wind Scorpions each week. It is always late at night when I’ve been sitting up knitting and watching TV. Two of them were on the family room floor (one very close to my foot!) and one was crawling up the wall near my knitting chair.
Ever since we’ve moved into this house, 25 years ago, there have been one or two of these creepy “bugs”, usually always in June. This year there were a couple earlier in June and then three in late August and September. This is the first time they have been around this time of year. For every one I see, there are probably quite a few more that I don’t see, too.
Every time I see one crawling on the floor or up the wall it gives me the creeps – they look so nasty. They are nasty, too. They even eat each other. When I caught the first one, I put it in a big jar because I wanted to figure out a way to take a picture of it. A few days later, I caught the second one and put it in the jar with the first one – the second one, which was bigger, promptly ate the first one. Then, when I caught the third one, I put it in the jar with the second one and before I could even find another jar to separate them – the third one (which was even bigger) ate the second one!
I finally figured out a way to photograph the “bug” using a cutting board with a well around the edge which I filled with water. These creatures hate water and it wouldn’t cross the water to crawl off the cutting board – so I could finally get some close-up pictures of the third one. It is still living in the jar – it ate some ants and seems to be doing just fine. I don’t know whether to let it go outside or just flush it down the toilet.
These things look like spiders and they are related to spiders – they are Solifugae which is an order of Arachnida but a different order than the one to which spiders belong. Here is an article about them:
There are lots of urban legends about Solifugae which are all untrue. Only one species has any venom and usually Solifugae don’t attack anything larger than themselves. They grow very large in some parts of the world and even eat things like lizards. The ones I’ve caught in my house are all around 1.25 inches long.
What I think is strange, we’ve been getting a few of these things in our house every year for 25 years and none of our neighbors (that we have asked) have caught any in their homes. That really makes me wonder if there is a colony of them that lives under our house or something. Perhaps next year we should put off a bug bomb under the house in the spring. We don’t get a lot of insects in our house, just a few spiders and a few ants – and these yucky things.
Anyway, it has gotten a lot colder now – the first few flakes of snow fell yesterday – so, I think there won’t be anymore of the creepy creatures this year. I hope so anyway!
You can click on the pictures for a larger view.