DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlad174 ISSN: 0024-4082

A scientist’s guide to Solifugae: how solifuges could advance research in ecology, evolution, and behaviour

Eileen A Hebets, Mariela Oviedo-Diego, Franco Cargnelutti, Fedra Bollatti, Lucia Calbacho-Rosa, Camilo I Mattoni, Paola Olivero, Catalina Simian, Debora Abregú, David E Vrech, Alfredo V Peretti
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Despite having >1200 described species and despite their nearly worldwide distribution and prevalence in many xeric ecosystems, relative to many other arachnid groups, we know little about the natural history and behaviour of animals in the order Solifugae (camel spiders, sun spiders, sun scorpions, etc.). Here, we review the current solifuge literature through the lens of conceptual research areas in ecology, evolution, and behaviour and propose ways in which solifuges can contribute to research in specific subfields, as follows: (i) ecology: community and trophic dynamics; connecting food webs; habitat specialization; and biodiversity and conservation; (ii) evolution: speciation and diversification; activity cycles and associated traits; adaptations for speed; and living in extreme environments; and (iii) behaviour and sensory systems: sleep, quiescence, and diapause; sensory systems and sensory ecology; learning and cognition; and mating systems, sexual selection, and sexual conflict. This resource can provide a starting point for identifying research programmes that will simultaneously contribute basic natural history information about this under-studied group and provide a broader understanding of fundamental concepts and theories across the life sciences. We hope that scientists will take this review as a challenge to develop creative ways of leveraging the unique features of solifuges to advance scientific knowledge and understanding.

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