UAE & OMAN 2011


Arid habitats are good places for big aggressive invertebrates and the Arabian Peninsula is no exception.
Sadly we only found one scorpion on the trip but solifugid, commonly known as camel spiders or sun spiders, even though they are no spiders at all, were present in the desert at night.


Compsobuthus cf. maindroni - Emirates desert scorpion
We found one small buthid scorpion at the irrigated garden at Wadi Al Helo, eastern Sharjah. The specimen was retained for the scorpion specialists. Most medically important scorpions belong to the Buthidae. There are several species of buthids in the region and this specimen was tentatively identified by comparison with artwork of known species. The rule is small pincers + large sting = dangerous scorpion and most buthids fit this pattern.

Emirates desert scorpion,
cf. maindroni
top: specimen from garden site, Wadi Al Helo, Sharjah, UAE
click on the images to enlarge


Galeodes arabs - Arabian camel spider
Camel spiders, aka sun spiders or wind scorpions, belong to a separate order of the Arachnida to the spiders, known as the Solifugae. They possess four pairs of legs and a long pair of pedipalps which they keep aloft in front of them when they run. Although non-venomous they do possess a powerful double set of chelicerae with which they can make short work of locusts, scorpions and small vertebrates. These large invertebrates can move with astonishing speed and run silently across the sand, making them an extremely unnerving animal to meet in the dark. The specimens we were photographing were also quite aggressive, trying to bite gloves and rushing at the sides of the clear plastic boxes in which they were placed.


Arabian camel spider,
Galeodes arabs

Al Batayeh, Sharjah, UAE
click on the images to enlarge
Close-up of the face
Close-up of the double pair of chelicerae
Close-up of the underside
Another close-up of the face


What do you do with a large, aggressive arachnid that knows no fear, moves at the speed of light and possesses two sets of jaws

click here to find out