Insurgents, Sectarian Violence and….Camel Spiders?

My friend and neighbor Tyler Williamson (introductory posts here and here) has been serving in Iraq for about a year. During that time he has been shelled and shot at, sunburned and sand-blinded, overworked, underpaid and much too far from home. But he’s the kind of guy who can handle this sort of thing.

For my benefit (and his, I’m sure) Tyler has been sending occasional pictures of the Iraqi wildlife he encounters, from magpie-like Pied Crows, to bronzed river carp to a long-legged kind of native fox. Today he sent this, which evidently caused quite a stir at headquarters.

The troops call them “camel spiders” and give them due respect. They are in fact spider-relatives, solpugids (the Solifugae), a gruesome lot combining all the “best” features of spiders, scorpions and bedtime closet monsters.

A face only a mother could love?

7 thoughts on “Insurgents, Sectarian Violence and….Camel Spiders?”

  1. We have them here too, though I think smaller than the Middle Eastern ones. They come into the house and eat insects and other things I like less, so I am inclined to leave them alone. Big jaws though!

  2. Ugh! A creature only an entomologist could love! I find them more attractive when they are firmly stuck to a mat via a pin… and certainly not alive and eagerly prowling across my desk.

    My husband, who is a Gulf War I vet, took one look at this fellow and replied in a series of sounds that I could never attempt to recreate with actual letters. He remembers, too, the ants which skittered all over the place with their abdomens high off the hot sand. Also recalled are the small reptiles they dubbed “Jesus Lizards” simply because they left no footprints in the sand, as if they were walking on water (if they stood still, they constantly picked up opposite feet.)

  3. I have run across a couple working in the desert outside of Vegas. Small ones though. Unlike other spiders they don’t scurry off if you mess with them. They go on the offensive. One of them stood it’s ground in a threatening pose, front legs up ready to strike. My co-worker was trying to catch it in an electrical tape package. Another gave chase. We responded apropriately, running and screaming like little girls.

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