A Camel spider, a carnivorous arachnid that can bite humans, has been seen for the first time in Turkey’s west, local media reported on June 26.
“We have found this species in Turkey for the first time in the west. They normally live in the arid areas of eastern Turkey, as well as Iraq and Iran,” said Nedret Avci from the veterinary department of the western Turkish province of Bilecik.
It is not yet clear whether the camel spider now breeds in western Turkey as a result of climate change.
Avci said they delivered the spider to a university for further study, adding that it could have been unintentionally transferred from an eastern province on top of a car or truck.
“Our province is critically located on the intercity highways between Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya. We call on our citizens to inform us if they see more of this species in Bilecik,” he added.
According to the BBC, though camel spiders appear to have 10 legs, they actually have eight. The two extra leg-like appendages are sensory organs called pedipalps.
Camel spiders can reach up to 15 cm in length, weigh about 56 grams and can run up to 16 kilometers per hour.
Contrary to some myths, they do not disembowel camels, jump in the air nor run after humans. As they are primarily nocturnal, they flee from the sun during daytime, which can lead them to human-made shades.
Camel spiders eat other bugs, lizards, small birds and rodents, but they are of negligible threat to humans, whom they can give painful bites, but rarely harm them in a serious way as they are not venomous.
That’s okay then!