The Arachnid Order Solifugae



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

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


Solifuges are voracious predators.  Most of the species that have been examined in any detail are capable of consuming a wide range of prey items, mostly insects and other arachnids such as spiders.  Muma (1966) and Cloudsley-Thompson (1977) briefly summarize previous observations and provide extensive citations to the earlier literature on prey items (including predation on vertebrates) and feeding behavior.  While much of the information on solifuge predation is anecdotal in nature, Muma (1966) and Punzo (1993, 1994a, 1994b, 1997) provide good experimental data and some field observations on prey choice and feeding behavior for several species of Eremobatidae and a few Ammotrechidae from southwestern USA.  Based on his studies of eremobatids, Muma (1982) concluded that while adults are generalist predators, most feed on termites, and that immatures feed primarily on termites.  Additionally, there are several records of termitophilous species from other solifuge families, and members of the genus Old World genus Hemiblossia (Daesiidae) have been frequently collected from termite mounds or among foraging columns (Lawrence 1963).  Punzo (1993, 1994a, b), however, did not find termites among the 111 dietary items he identified from his observations on actively foraging eremobatids.  His data nevertheless do provide solid evidence of a broad diet for the two species of Eremobates that he studied.  Both Muma (1966) and Punzo (1993, 1994a, b, 1998) demonstrated that at least some solifuges rejected prey items that were either too large, too heavily sclerotized, or which may have been protected by defensive chemicals.  Other solifuges, however, did not.

Literature Cited:

Cloudsley-Thompson, J. L. 1977. Adaptational biology of Solifugae (Solpugida). Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society, 4: 61-67.

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

Muma, M. H. 1966. Feeding behavior of North American Solpugida (Arachnida). The Florida Entomologist, 49: 199-216.

Punzo, F. 1993. Diet and feeding behavior in the solpugid, Eremobates palpisetulosus (Solpugida: Eremobatidae). Psyche, 100: 151-162.

Punzo, F. 199a. Trophic and temporal niche interactions in sympatric populations of Eremobates palpisetulosus Ficher and Eremobates mormonus (Roewer) (Solpugida: Eremobatidae).  Psyche, 101: 187-194. 

Punzo, F. 1994b. 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. 1997. Dispersion, temporal patterns of activity, and the phenology of feeding and mating in Eremobates palpisetulosus Fichter (Solifugae, Eremobatidae). Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 10: 303-307.

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


Female Eremobates sp., palpisetulosus group, from California, USA, feeding on termites.  Photo by Warren E. Savary.



























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