An Arizona man got a shock when he discovered a camel spider living in his home. The creatures are most commonly associated with Middle Eastern deserts, but their diverse order of over 1,000 described species are found on all continents aside from Antarctica and Australia.
Thomas Acosta, who lives in Queen Creek, Arizona, said he had been living in the state for 37 years but had never come across one.
"I didn't know they are native to Arizona, I have seen camel spiders, but I heard of them in Iraq," Acosta told ABC 15 news.
Camel spiders, also known as wind scorpions or sun spiders, are neither true scorpions nor spiders. They are more closely related to scorpions, and can grow up to six inches long.
With their conspicuously large chelicerae 'jaws', they have the largest jaw to body size ratio of any animal in the world. The bite of a camel spider isn't deadly to humans, but it is painful.
It is a common myth that camel spiders chase humans to attack them, but as the creatures are nocturnal, they are actually trying to stay in the shade of a person's shadow. They are attracted to light at night and will run towards it.
The camel spider also gained a mythical reputation during the Gulf War for being ferocious hunters of camels - obviosuly untrue. Although they do lurk under camels, it is to stay in their shade.
Camel spiders are opportunistic hunters, feeding on a variety of prey from rodents to lizards and even birds. "We do have a small pet, and I wouldn't want anything to hurt her, she's kind of old," Acosta said.