The Arachnid Order Solifugae



Hunting Behavior
PreyScavenging BehaviorFeeding Behavior
Life HistoryCourtship and MatingReproductive Biology
Growth and Development

Feeding Behavior
This section contributed by Dr. Robert A. Wharton
and Kristie Reddick,  Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University

Feeding behavior of solifuges has most often been recorded anecdotally (Punzo, 1998) with a few observations made during other work (Wharton 1981; Lawrence, 1949 1963). Solifuges use their massive chelicerae to macerate their prey by feeding it through the ‘cheliceral mill,’ where the upper fondal teeth rub back and forth against each other, grinding the exoskeleton and extracting liquid (Punzo, 1998). The suctorial organs at the tips of the pedipalps are very important for prey capture and manipulation and often have intial contact with the prey (Cushing et al. 2005; Punzo, 1998). Wharton (1987) observed Metasolpuga picta females occasionally using their palps to bring food closer to the chelicerae.

Punzo (1994, 1998) provides the best assessment of long-standing observations on feeding behavior, primarily because of the quality of the experimental approach and the detailed focus on prey preparation.  Prey preparation in solifuges has been recorded for Eremebotes mormonus, Eremorhax magnus and Eremobates marathoni (Punzo, 1998). These species of solifuge have been shown to remove certain parts of the body with higher chitin content (head, antennae, wings) and an average of 5 to 9% of total feeding time is devoted to prey preparation.

Literature Cited:

Cushing, P. E., J. O. Brookhart, H.-J. Kleebe, G. Zito, and P. Payne.  2005.  The suctorial organ of the Solifugae (Arachnida, Solifugae).  Arthropod Structure and Development 34: 397-406. 

Lawrence, R. F. 1949. Observations on the habits of a female solifuge, Solpuga caffra Pocock. Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 21 (2): 197-200.

Lawrence, R. F. 1963. The Solifugae of South West Africa. Cimbebasia, 8: 1-28.

Punzo, F. 1994. An analysis of feeding and optimal Hunting Behavior in the solpugid, Eremobates mormonus (Roewer) (Solpugida, Eremobatidae). Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society, 9: 293-298.

Punzo, F. 1998. The Biology of Camel-spiders (Arachnida, Solifugae).  Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston.

Wharton, R. A. 1981. Namibian (South Africa) Solifugae. Cimbebasia Mem. 5: 3-87.

Wharton, R. A. 1987. Biology of the diurnal Metasolpuga picta (Kraepelin) (Solifugae, Solpugidae) compared with that of nocturnal species. Journal of Arachnology, 14: 363-383






















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