Solifuges are voracious predators. Most of the
species that have been examined in any detail are capable of consuming a wide
range of prey items, mostly insects and other arachnids such as spiders. Muma
(1966) and Cloudsley-Thompson (1977) briefly summarize previous observations and
provide extensive citations to the earlier literature on prey items (including
predation on vertebrates) and feeding behavior. While much of the information
on solifuge predation is anecdotal in nature, Muma (1966) and Punzo (1993,
1994a, 1994b, 1997) provide good experimental data and some field observations
on prey choice and feeding behavior for several species of Eremobatidae and a
few Ammotrechidae from southwestern USA. Based on his studies of eremobatids,
Muma (1982) concluded that while adults are generalist predators, most feed on
termites, and that immatures feed primarily on termites. Additionally, there
are several records of termitophilous species from other solifuge families, and
members of the genus Old World genus Hemiblossia (Daesiidae) have been
frequently collected from termite mounds or among foraging columns (Lawrence
1963). Punzo (1993, 1994a, b), however, did not find termites among the 111
dietary items he identified from his observations on actively foraging
eremobatids. His data nevertheless do provide solid evidence of a broad diet
for the two species of Eremobates that he studied. Both Muma (1966) and
Punzo (1993, 1994a, b, 1998) demonstrated that at least some solifuges rejected
prey items that were either too large, too heavily sclerotized, or which may
have been protected by defensive chemicals. Other solifuges, however, did not.
Cloudsley-Thompson, J. L. 1977. Adaptational
biology of Solifugae (Solpugida). Bulletin of the British Arachnological
Society, 4: 61-67.
Lawrence, R. F. 1963. The Solifugae of South
West Africa. Cimbebasia, 8: 1-28.
Muma, M. H. 1966. Feeding behavior of North
American Solpugida (Arachnida). The Florida Entomologist, 49: 199-216.
Punzo, F. 1993. Diet
and feeding behavior in the solpugid, Eremobates palpisetulosus (Solpugida:
Eremobatidae). Psyche, 100: 151-162.
Punzo, F. 199a.
Trophic and temporal niche interactions in sympatric populations of
Eremobates palpisetulosus Ficher and Eremobates mormonus (Roewer)
(Solpugida: Eremobatidae). Psyche, 101: 187-194.
Punzo, F. 1994b. An
analysis of feeding and optimal Hunting Behavior in the solpugid,
Eremobates mormonus (Roewer) (Solpugida, Eremobatidae). Bulletin of the
British Arachnological Society, 9: 293-298.
Punzo, F. 1997.
Dispersion, temporal patterns of activity, and the phenology of feeding and
mating in Eremobates palpisetulosus Fichter (Solifugae, Eremobatidae).
Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society
Punzo, F. 1998.
The Biology of Camel-spiders (Arachnida, Solifugae). Kluwer Academic