What’s in our kitchen now?

We had a visit this evening from a rather healthy looking Solifugid (aka camel spider, wind scorpion, sun spider, though I always knew them as a “sun scorpions”) which I caught after seeing it scurrying across our kitchen floor.

Solifugids are arachnids related to spiders and true scorpions and like scorpions seem to be largely nocturnal. We get them in the house not too infrequently (much to my wife’s dismay) but this was a larger specimen than usual. In fact it is probably one of the larger I’ve seen in this area of So. Cal..

Penny for scale

Close up

Despite their fearsome appearance they’re relatively harmless as they lack venom of any kind. However I imagine that they could inflict a rather nasty bite in self defense with those chelicerae (mouth parts).

Look into my eyes!

However impressive this individual might be for around here it is still relatively small compared to some pictures I’ve seen of some old world species encountered by U.S. troops stationed in the middle east.

Just another night in the Britain household…

Some web sites on Solifugids:

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The not so itsy bitsy spider climbed out of the cactus

I was doing some long neglected yard work today and while pulling out some weeds around a dying bit of prickly pear cactus in the back yard I came upon this “little” beauty:

And here is one for scale:

OK, so it’s not a bird eating spider, the size of a dinner plate, but outside of a full blown tarantula it is the biggest spider I’ve seen in the wild around these parts (Southern California) since I was a kid. My first attempt at an identification would be a California trapdoor spider (Bothriocyrtum californicum), though it looks a little different from the pics I can find on the web and I didn’t find it associated with a trapdoor setup. It was just clinging to a bit of old prickly pear skin (an environment it was sharing with literally hundreds and hundreds of Eleodes).

Any spider guys out there that can confirm or correct my I.D.?