One of the most intriguing cases of mimicry potentially
involving solifuges (as the model) involves the bird-feeding viper
Pseudocerastes urarachnoides from western Iran. The snake's coloration
and rough scalation provide effective camouflage in its natural
environment, which is rich in burned gypsum. The snake lies in ambush,
exposing the tail lure and wiggling it to produce the illusion of an actively
engaged solifuge. When a bird lured by these movements approaches to take
advantage of an easy meal, the snake strikes, turning the potential predator
into prey. The photograph and video below, both taken by Behzad Fathinia of
Iran, illustrate the lure. For
more information about this fascinating snake, see the "References" section at
the bottom of this page.
The images below illustrate what appears to be a striking
instance of Batesian mimicry, in which a Namibian solifuge in the family
Solpugidae mimics the more commonly encountered black-and-white tenebrionid
beetles of the genera
Stenocara. The top photo depicts the solifuge; the bottom photo
depicts a beetle of the genus Stenocara. The striking
black-and-white pattern of the beetles has been suggested to be an example of
aposematic coloration (Edney, 1971).
[Click on bottom photograph to see a video of tenebrionid beetles in action.]
Fathinia, B., S. C. Anderson, N. Rastegar-Pouyani,
H. Jahani, and H. Mohamadi. 2009.
Notes on the Natural History of Pseudocerastes urarachnoides (Squamata:
Viperidae). Russian Journal of Herpetology Vol. 16 (2): 134 – 138.
Bostanchi H., S. C. Anderson, Haji Gholi Kami, and Th. J. Papenfuss. 2006.
A new species of Pseudocerastes with elaborate tail ornamentation from
western Iran (Squamata: Viperidae). Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. Ser. 4, 57(14), 443
Edney, E. B. 1971.
The body temperature of tenebrionid beetles in
the Namib Desert of southern Africa. J. Exp. Biol., 55: 253-272.