• camel-spiders;
  • fine structure;
  • functional morphology;
  • gut system;
  • mouthparts;
  • parasites


Solifuges are voracious and fast predators. Once having captured a prey item, mostly small arthropods or even small vertebrates, they start feeding on their prey by constant chewing movements with their huge chelicerae. At the same time, they squeeze out the soft tissue that passes the anterior lattice-like part of the mouthparts. The digestion of the food takes place in the midgut, which is anatomically highly complex. It consists of the midgut tube from which numerous prosomal and opisthosomal diverticula and tubular lateral branches arise. The dimorphic epithelium of the midgut tube and the diverticula is constituted of digestive and secretory cells. The digestive cells are characterized by an apical tubulus system and contain nutritional vacuoles, lipids, spherites, and glycogen. Secretory cells contain a huge amount of rough endoplasmic reticulum and secretory vacuoles. The lateral branches are ultrastructurally similar to Malpighian tubules and are likely involved in excretion. In contrast to the midgut, the epithelium of the hindgut consists of only one type of cell overlain by a thin cuticle. Digested residuals are stored in the hindgut until defecation. J. Morphol., 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.