Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University
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Windscorpion or Solifugid
 
A windscorpion or solifugid.  Photo by Jackman.
Click on image to enlarge
 
A windscorpion or solifugid,
(Solifugae: Eremobatidae).
Photo by Jackman.
Common Name: Windscorpion or solifugid
Scientific Name: Varies
Order: Solifugae

Description: Windscorpions are from 3/8 to 2 inches (1 to 5 cm) long. Most are yellowish to brown in color, and have four pairs of legs. The pedipalps are thin and used like feelers. The first pair of legs are more slender than the others and act as sense organs. The mouth parts (chelicerae) of windscorpions are formed into large jaws that work vertically and project forward from the mouth. The shape of the head with its enormous jaws is quite distinctive. The males often have a more slender body, which is often longer in the males than in the females and with their longer legs males look bigger.

Twenty-six species are reported from Texas. Most of the Texas species belong to the family Eremobatidae. The largest genus is Eremobates. In this family, the front of the head is straight across and the first pair of legs have one or two claws. The species are difficult to identify. Many are localized or have records from only a few locations.

Life Cycle: Females bury their eggs and some guard them. Windscorpions are short lived probably surviving only one year.

Habitat, Food Source(s), Damage: They feed by using their powerful curved jaws that project out the front. Windscorpions are rapidly-moving predators that readily attack prey. They feed on almost any invertebrate and have been known to feed on lizards and other small vertebrates. They can move very fast and run "like the wind", hence the name. They may burrow into the sand or hide under stones and are mostly active at night (nocturnal).

Pest Status: Also known as sunspiders, windspiders, and sunscorpions; they do not have venom glands but are capable of biting. Present throughout the western and southern parts of the state, they are not known or at least uncommon in east Texas. They are primarily found in deserts and dry areas.

Management: See Windscorpions.

For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.

Literature: Levi et al. 1990; Muma 1951, 1962; Rowland and Reddell 1976.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999
Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.
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