Windscorpions give pause to even die hard Arachnid fans – their formidable chelicerae (jaws) are disproportionately large, and they move with unbelievable speed. These odd Arachnids (Order Solifugae), which are neither scorpions nor spiders, are not easy to keep. However, if you are a serious Arachnid keeper looking for a new challenge, Windscorpions are definitely worth a closer look.
Range and Reputation
The world’s 1,000+ Windscorpion species favor deserts and other warm, arid habitats. They are absent from Australia but otherwise widespread…a number dwell in Florida and the American Southwest. They are among the most active of Arachnids – and their appetites are insatiable.
When out by day, Windscorpions stay to the shadows…their habit of following people, in order to stay shaded, has earned them a quite bad reputation in North Africa. However, while Windscorpions do not actively chase people, their huge, ragged jaws can deliver painful bites, and they should only be handled with tongs.
Success in keeping these little-studied invertebrates has been mixed at best. Several species appear regularly in the trade (i.e. Eremobates spp.), but none can be considered easy captives.
Windscorpions must be kept dry, and they need a great deal of room – more than twice that of similarly-sized scorpions and spiders. A secure, undisturbed environment, stocked with artificial caves and cork bark retreats, is essential A sandy substrate, into which some species will burrow, will also help them to feel at home. Temperature requirements vary by species, but an ambient of 85 F with a warmer area of 92-95 F will suffice for most.
Windscorpion appetites are huge – no once per week feeding for these beasts! Instead, experiment with every-other-day or even daily feedings, providing all they will take. As we know little of their nutritional requirements, vary the diet as much as possible…crickets, roaches, sow bugs, waxworms and wild-caught moths, grasshoppers and other invertebrates will all be eagerly accepted.
Folks working with Windscorpions have a real opportunity to contribute to what little we know about these most unusual creatures.
Tailless Whipscorpions are equally odd relatives of the Windscorpions, and easier to keep in captivity. To learn more, please see Tailless Whipscorpions – the Weirdest Invertebrates?
You can check out the imposing jaws of a Windscorpion in this video.
Wind Scorpion image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Vijaybarve