Apr 16, 2008

A Blight

Behold a creature that has made my short list of the most dreaded of all beasts, and reason #1,023 why I don't live in the Middle East.

The Egyptian Giant Solpugid, better known as the camel spider or sun spider, is a blight in the already charm-challenged class of Arachnida. And while there are all sorts of rumors about this monster, they do pose a threat to those inhabiting the deserts of the Middle East.

Want proof? Check out this purty little wound received by a US soldier serving over there.

Thanks for the link, Wendy. I need to go bathe in boiling oil.

UPDATE: The concensus seems to be that this wound wasn't caused by a camel spider, since they aren't venomous. Either the wound got infected, or it was inflicted by a scorpion.

Photo source: National Geographic


Nebulous_Grey said...

Gorgeous spider to wake up to.
The bite...Not so much. I think I'll be skipping breakfast this morning.

Alex said...

Um. No.

That story might be believable if Solpugids were venomous, but they aren't. A bite by a plain, regular ol' spider is much more likely to cause the wound in the picture.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

The "purty little wound" picture isn't such a big deal--there's blood, because it's being cut open to drain, but none of the "putrefying flesh" one sees in the Brown Recluse bite pics and videos one finds at Snopes, YouTube, etc.

The soldier, according to the accompanying article, wasn't even aware of being bitten, nor pained by the resulting lump (until it "popped"). The primary concern with bites of the venomless camel spider is infection.

On the scale of injuries suffered "over there," this is nothin'. I'd just as soon have the troops all back here, regardless.

Raging Wombat said...

The boil makes me think it was infected.

Jade said...

As someone who studies these animals, I can say with 100% certainty that his "bite" was NOT from a sulpugid.

The outter swelling and discoloration is more indicative of a scorpion sting, which would give the doctors reason to cut it open to try and drain any venom inside the wound.

I hate seeing sulpugids get blamed for such horrible things. They're really harmless, to be honest.

Theodosia said...

Nice fuzzy arachnid!

sensitivepoet said...

Yeah, I'm not sure who decided to blame the bite on a solpugid, since the bite happened "while he was sleeping" and no one saw it happen.

The same thing goes with spiders. People wake up with welts and attribute them to spiders all the time, without evidence (they are much more likely to be from something that actually bites humans for sustenance, like mites, mosquitoes, bedbugs, etc.; without going into this too much, I can say that the series of events and coincidences that would actually lead to a spider bite are extremely rare), and "spider bites," including and especially brown recluse bites, are routinely misdiagnosed at hospitals.

sensitivepoet said...

Oh, and Jade: cool that you study these things, they seem fascinating. I've heard they're hard to keep alive in captivity, is that true?

Jade said...

That's VERY true. Every one I've cared for has died in about three months. They have such a rapid decent, too. It's really sad. I've only kept three because of that reason.

Samjones said...

That wound looks like Halloween makeup.