Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Spider identification

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Question
Mystery spider
Mystery spider  
I live in Southern California and found this spider crawling on my kitchen floor around 9pm on June 23rd.  It was a very fast mover and seemed to come from nowhere. I thought it was a scorpion at first. I would like to know what it is and if it is poisonous. Thank you.

Answer
Hi, Sarah:

Thank you for including the image with your question.

The creature is an arachnid called a "solifuge," aka "camel spider," "windscorpion," or "sun spider."  They are non-venomous but aggressively predatory on other small animals.  I wrote this for DesertUSA:

http://www.desertusa.com/insects/solpugids.html

Since these animals are not economically important, we know collectively rather little about them.

Thanks for being curious and sharing your discovery. :-)

Cheers,

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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