By: Sandra Markle
Publisher: Lerner Publishing
Publication Date: February 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2012
Wind scorpions are arachnids that are “sometimes called camel spiders or sun spiders.” Many people have seen the picture of a huge camel spider held by an American soldier in the Middle East and have heard some mythical stories about these amazing spiders, but most of them are untrue. In fact they are neither spiders nor scorpions. They don’t spin webs and aren’t venomous, but they do have giant claws, or chelicerae, to protect themselves. They can chomp through skin, scales, and the exoskeletons of their prey with ease. Yes, they can bite people, and while the bite won’t kill, it can be painful.
Arachnids reach adulthood through a three-stage, incomplete metamorphosis. For example, the wind scorpion, Galeodes, is an egg, an immature, and then becomes an adult. In the immature stage, the immature Galeodes goes through an additional three stages as an “instar,” a newly hatched wind scorpion. The immature Galeodes looks much different that the adult, but “can do anything the adult can do except mate and produce young.” The female wind scorpion will burrow a hole in the soil, lay her eggs, and then “guards them from predators such as scorpions and wolf spiders.” In this book you’ll also learn how long it takes the eggs to hatch, how the instars survive, how wind spiders hunt, how they sense the world around them, how they use their pedipalps, how they track their prey, how they mate, and you’ll learn many other interesting things about this misunderstood arachnid, the wind scorpion.
One of the most impressive parts of this book are the two, two-page spreads that show the body parts of the wind scorpion. The first spread has an enlarged photograph of this arachnid, while the second has a more detailed illustrated cross section detailing more than a dozen internal organs and body parts. The book is generously illustrated with enlarged, full color photographs and numerous, informative “Wind Scorpion Fact” sidebars. For example, we learn that “Male wind scorpions will only mate with their own kind of female wind scorpion.” In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a wind scorpion activity, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. There are free downloadable educational materials on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: This is a fascinating overview of the wind scorpion or camel spider.