Camel Spiders: Neither Camels, nor Spiders

Camel Spiders: Neither Camels, nor Spiders


this episode is brought to you by a collaboration between the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Field Museum in Chicago Illinois back in 2004 at the ripe age of 14 I received an email that looks something like this it was a picture featuring two massive nightmarish creatures with enormous fames in humongous legs they appeared to each be as big as a grown man’s thigh and look like they could take off your finger the description with the images mentions that they have a quote vertical leap that would make a pro basketball player weep with envy and that they need to jump high enough to jump onto a camel and suck out its juices and maybe even lay it’s a exhibit stomach the thing is most of that isn’t true I mean the animals are it’s just that the force perspective makes them look huge the biggest one they’re only six to eight inches they’re completely non-venomous can’t jump like pro basketball players and even though they can run pretty fast they still can’t outrun you these are camel spiders and there are more than 1,100 known species they live in deserts all across the world with the exception of Australia and Antarctica and the oldest known species date back to 300 million years ago it was around during the Carboniferous period and roamed the planet from sixty million years before the dinosaurs so even though these guys are super abundant and have been around for a really long time there’s still a bunch we don’t know about them which is why I came here so the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to talk to dr. Paula Cushing she’s been studying these guys for nearly 17 years Paula is an evolutionary biologist and curator of invertebrate zoology her research focuses on arachnids a group of animals that include spiders and scorpions but her specialty is in camel spiders she’s one of maybe five scientists in the world who was regularly publishing new discoveries on these relatively mysterious creatures so we went to her lab to learn more about her work so why don’t more people study though so they’re really hard to study they’re hard to catch when you’re in the field they’re really hard to keep alive in the lab I started calling them the spawn of Satan because they they seem to appear you’re out there in the desert they peer out of nowhere they disappear they’re lonely the wind you try to catch them you can’t catch them they’re just like a love-hate relationship that I have with these things or these venomous are they toxic at all no so they have they have no venom they they act like they could take you down but they can’t so they’re really pretty harmless when I when I catch them when I grab one by my hand the big species like what you’re seeing under the microscope don’t give you a little nip and you can feel it and I scream like a girl when they bite me but they’re not strong enough to break your skin our skin is tougher than we think can you just tell us a little bit about their interesting Anatomy sure so one of the most remarkable things about these arachnids is their enormous jaws jaws of arachnids are called chalo suri and they can move their jaws both this way and this way so I decide and up and down yes and they’ll grab the prey with their using their legs using their their front appendages are called pedipalps but they bring that insight close to their jaws to the tree and then they just start tearing it apart but they can’t chew so what they do is they as with almost all arachnids they vomit digestive enzymes onto the bodies of prey the digestive enzymes break down the muscles and the tissue and then like with other arachnids they have a muscular stomach and they just suck in that pre liquefied predigested meal oh how appetizing and with males in the family that I study I study animals in the family ARIMA badda T and in that family the males have no teeth on that upper jaw of the chilla story whereas the females she has teeth on both the upper and the lower jaw and the reason there’s a difference when they get ready to mate with the females the male Sophia the male camel spider he finds the female out there he rushes at her he grabs her around the middle of her body and as soon as he grabbed her if she’s receptive and ready to mate for some reason she goes completely quiescent it’s like she goes into a trance and then what the meal does is he moves his jaws down to her genital opening on the underside of her abdomen and he sticks his jaws into her genital opening and he starts to chew I know the male will exude from his genital opening to sperm packet and he’ll pull his jaws out he’ll move his body up he’ll deposit the sperm packet on her genital opening and then he box that down and then he sticks that sperm packet into her again using his jaws and then she starts to wake up he books it out of there as fast as he can because at that point anything goes she could eat him he could eat her they could both went away Wow I mean that’s not good couple dates I’ve been on why doesn’t it seem like they chase after you so there are stories of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been stationed there who who claim that they’re running after them they’re chasing them down in the desert and I think what’s happening is as the soldiers are working the desert they’re basically uncovering the daytime burrows of these animals and when they’re disturbed during the day they don’t like it they don’t like the Sun they’re trying to seek out shade oh we think what they’re doing is they’re chasing after the shadow of the troll soldier and by doing so by running after the shadow they’re essentially looking like they’re running after the soldier they have this remarkable ability to maintain very high activity rates for very long periods of time they have tracheal tubes kind of like insects do so those tracheal tubes are taking oxygen up through little holes in the exoskeleton into their body and are transporting that oxygen very efficiently all through the tissue of the body so as terrifying as we might seem they’re pretty harmless they’re pretty harmless we don’t know enough about them yeah what we do know is they’re important predators in in very dry xeric desert environments the deserts worldwide are our habitats that are at risk from agriculture from irrigation from developments and so these top predators like like the soul fusion like scorpions they’re important in both controlling the insect populations that exist in the desert they’re also important food so desert adapted birds mammals reptiles are are using so fugitives as an important food item it’s important for us to understand I think more about the biology of all organisms on earth I mean we have one planet that that we share you know we share with millions of species that we know so little about the biology of our neighboring species on this planet anybody can make discoveries about them I mean there’s so much left to know about camel spiders so that’s the really satisfying part of studying these animal yeah I I can get behind that yeah yeah I think everybody should get behind that yeah camel spiders yes arachnid Haskell has brains on it [Music]

100 thoughts on “Camel Spiders: Neither Camels, nor Spiders

  1. “They still can’t outrun you.”

    GOOD. I CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT. THANK YOU.

    * continues *

    😭

    Edit: Hold on, where’d she get the shirt?

  2. Uh we caught one about 5" long overall and it cut into a lizard and sucked it dry. They can bite through our skin.
    And they are scary.

  3. We find these pretty often in our house crawling on the walls (in Las Vegas NV) I try to catch and release them but they are kind of delicate.

  4. Dr. Paula : anything goes, he EATS her, she EATS him.

    Emily: oh wow, sounds like couple of dates I've been on.

    Sure Emily, sure…….

  5. Damn… The way she was describing the Camel spider eating his mate out during mating session came straight from one of her private collection.

  6. This was awesome but I wish there was more. Please do another one with lots of details!😁 I understand we dont know much but tell us all you can!🤟

  7. So the expert said:
    1. I used to call them "the spawn of Satan."
    2. Their massive chelicerae (jaws) allow them to move insect prey inward (while the video was showing the camel spider drag a f'n bird twice its size).
    3. The male chews the inside of female's genital opening during mating.
    4. The are highly active because of an efficient trachial system.
    5. We know very little about their biology, although the live amongst those of us who live in dry desert climates (like me).

    Well, great! Time to move.

  8. Research has shown that these spiders aren’t actually that big

    When I was deployed, I guarantee… they get HUGE

  9. Bird- it’s me or you

    Camel spider- oh really

    Bird- yea bro really

    5 minutes later bird getting chewed on

  10. We used to get these every now and then in the house I grew up in, and they always freaked me out like crazy. Watching this video actually really helped me with that by understanding them more!

  11. I used to live out in Mojave, CA; just across the street from Edwards AFB, and it seemed like every summer there was one bug out there that just popped off in numbers and one year it was camel spiders. These things were EVERYWHERE. Found one in my bed one night and I screamed like a little girl, and I didn’t sleep in there for weeks. Another time my cousin and I found a big one out on the porch of the house and we threw a brick at it. The brick did nothing and it kept going about it’s day. I don’t know if we missed or those things are just that tanky, but I’ve been terrified of them ever since.

  12. Human: Aaaaaargh
    Spider:Why are you terrified – I'm just fluffy…and I don't bother any housewife with making webs.
    Human: Oh sorry for the misconception!
    Spider: You are welcome, am I too?

  13. Non venomous. Am I supposed to still be laughing on that one. Okay maybe deadly isn’t anywhere near toxic and venomous. Deadly is also pretty much as harmless as can be. The toxic venom they have are not toxic and venomous and the painful flesh eating skin mutilating bite marks area filled with puss that can fill a little over two big syringes and the permanent mark that it leaves isn’t what it exactly is, thus not really real just because it is actually what it really is

    These comedy shows are Hell arias like Jodi and a black widows wedding day at Dizzyland on the unhaunted house ride during a Mandela effect shift

  14. Fuck I will supply her with all those little ugly fucks. every night when I go out to smoke I put my feet up because there is one scrawling around and I always squash it!

  15. The males are eating the females out..
    wtf they're so advanced, we only started making this a thing a few years ago but here these bastards are eating their partners out for millions of years.

  16. I find these fucking guys at my job, i live in nevada. Imagine changing a fryer or something and one charges at you. Scary shit

  17. Seen video's all week of a black widow taking out all sorts of other insects that were bigger and stronger and poisonous.. Then a video of camel spider taking the widow out effortlessly and the camel spider was young not much bigger than the widow

  18. Saw one tonight for the first time in person in the shower room at the camper park I'm currently staying at…watched it walked away into one of the shower stalls when it noticed me… then when I went into the other shower stall and showered…it was at the opposite end of the room just resting by the side corner…seemed harmless.

  19. I catch these things all the time. Good to know they are not venomous. For a while I thought they were some sort of cricket-spider hybrid.

  20. Heard crazy stories about Camel Spiders from fellow soldiers who had already deployed to Iraq beforehand. I didn't see Camel Spiders in Iraq, only Camel Fuckers.

  21. First, God bless America, they do not live here. Second, if one of those things came anywhere near me I would break the sound barrier and my cane would have to catch up with me. Third, Dr Cushing's blouse gave me the creeps!! Fourth, poor bird.

  22. ok i was in Afghanistan and i killed a camel spider at night and it was big enough to put on an average size chair and and legs drape on the floor first i stapled it to the ground with my bayonet i was still grabbing for me then with two other kbar knifes i started stabbing it it took awhile to kill it

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