Amblypygids everywhere?

Here’s a happy story: people are finding whip spiders, or amblypygids, in all kinds of unexpected places. The point is that you can find all kinds of wondrous things in nature, if you just know to look for them. Wouldn’t it be cool to open a cupboard and find one of these looking at you?

(OK, below the fold because apparently some people would react with horror.)

I would be thrilled. It’s not likely, though, since I live so far north — they prefer tropical and subtropical environments, and we aren’t that. But still, I can dream of turning over a log and finding one of these, can’t I?

By the way, they may look kind of scary, but amblypygids are non-venomous. Apparently those massive palps are strong and spiky enough to pierce the skin, but it’s just a little pinprick, a small price to pay for capturing one of these magnificent animals.


  1. kestrel says

    Oh gosh I remember one of these guys being held up really close to a camera in front of a person to make it look much, much bigger than it really is. I think they were calling it a “camel spider” or something, and a friend showed it to me in complete and utter horror, and I had to explain that whole thing about taking trick photos like that. I am surprised but we do have them here, and I’ve found them before – but wow, the ones we have here are pretty small. You have to look pretty carefully.

  2. raven says

    You probably have pseudoscorpions which look a lot like Amblypygids.

    Wikipedia: There are more than 3,300 species of pseudoscorpions recorded in more than 430 genera, with more being discovered on a regular basis. They range worldwide, even in temperate to cold regions like Northern Ontario and above timberline in Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains in the United States and the Jenolan Caves of Australia, but have their most dense and diverse populations in the tropics and subtropics, where they spread even to island territories like the Canary Islands, where around 25 endemic species have been found.[11]

    Found as far north as Northern Ontario.

  3. lasius says


    “Camel spiders” or solifuges (Solifugae) are an entirely different arachnid order. But they too are very interesting animals that haven’t seen enough research.

  4. PaulBC says

    I read an article about them recently (somewhere else though) and wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I’d have to see one close up, but I still don’t think they bother me as much as spiders. Not even house centipedes do, though they seem like they should. I would be very unlikely to encounter an amblypygid unless I went well out of my way to look for one, making them less interesting to me.

  5. says

    Okay, that would cause me to jump. It doesn’t look like a spider to me, thus the reaction. If it’s spidery enough, I’m okay.

    Yeah, I don’t get me either.

  6. kestrel says

    It’s true I might have them mixed up with other critters, but according to the map on this page they do occur in my area: Also, for size they show (around a quarter inch as on the smaller side) is about the size of what I found.

    I may have found something else, but I thought it was one of these. Whether I actually found one of these or not, they are super cool.

  7. says

    If the picture is yours it is the best I have seen here. Can you do it again? I hope so but it can be hard.

  8. John Harshman says

    Solpugids are nice, amblypygids are nice, but for good clean fun you can’t beat thelyphonids, commonly known as whip scorpions or vinegaroons. Their pedipalp claws are way cool, especially when they adopt a threat posture. Totally harmless too.

  9. Stuart Smith says

    I guess one advantage to global warming is the great boon it will provide to entomologists and arachnologists who live in Northerly climates. Just hold the line, and the bugs will come to you.

  10. davidc1 says

    @11 Lets all hope the Wasps that prey on Spiders are not far behind .And there are already Scorpions in the London Underground .