QUEEN CREEK, AZ - It's the stuff you'd see in your nightmares, and an Arizona man came face to face with it.
Its common name is the camel spider, wind scorpion or sun spider; however, it's not a spider and it's also not a scorpion. It's a cousin to both. It's in the same group as arachnids but isn't a true spider, according to Pierce Hutton, a biology Ph.D. student at Arizona State University. It's in the genus "Eremobates."
"I didn't know they are native to Arizona, I have seen camel spiders, but I heard of them in Iraq," Thomas Acosta said.
He found the creepy creature at his home near Phoenix. After living in Arizona for 37 years, he's never encountered one. He found it odd looking.
Biologists say the arachnid is a cousin of common spiders, but its powerful pinchers and menacing jaws make it a closer relative of another desert danger: scorpions.
The camel spider can get big enough to feast on small rodents, birds, lizards and other insects; it also has the largest jaw size to body size ratio of any known animal, according to Hutton.
"We do have a small pet, and I wouldn't want anything to hurt her, she's kind of old," Acosta said of his worries.
However, despite its resume of nightmare qualities, it's non-venomous and "essentially harmless to humans and other large animals," Hutton reassured.
But what are those big scary appendages on the spider? It's the chelicerae, which are the spider's mouth and are used to transfer sperm into the female spider's gonopore, which is its reproductive tract.
Acosta said he's looking into getting an exterminator as soon as possible.