For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Romans – Order Solifugae

There are about 900 species of Solifugae in the world of which about 240 are found in Southern Africa. They mostly occur in tropical and subtropical habitats and are found over the whole of Africa.

They are regarded with great fear probable due to their hairiness, fast movement, large jaws and aggressive behaviour but while the larger species can deliver a painful bite, they pose no threat to humans.
 They are known under various names: Sun Spiders, Jaag Spiders, Romans, Fat Eaters and Hair Cutters.

The ability to regulate their body temperature without excessive water loss is well developed and they have an unusually high tolerance for high temperatures and drought compared to other desert arachnids.
 They can be divided into two species: those active by day and those active at night. The larger of the species are active at night and spend the day in burrows.

Solifugae are loners and strongly antisocial. After mating, the female makes a burrow where she lays between 20-200 eggs which start hatching in about 2 weeks. Most Romans live for about 12 months.
Info: Goggo Guide – The arthropods of Southern Africa (Erik Holm and Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman)