Solifuges, or camel spiders (order Solifugae), keep their pedipalps extended when moving through the environment, utilizing them much the way insects use their antennae. The male also uses his pedipalps during copulation, staying in contact with the female throughout the process. The pedipalps are covered with setae that are assumed to function as chemo-, mechano-, thermo-, hygro-, and olfactory receptors. We surveyed setal forms and other possible sensory structures on the pedipalps of solifuges to determine 1) if certain setae and structures are common to all families, 2) if some may be unique to certain families, and 3) the possible function of the various setae and other structures. We found that all families had bifurcated and tapered setae, and that all families had dorsal tarsal pores. Other setal forms were evident only in one or a few families. Three of the setal types had distal pores suggesting that they function as chemoreceptors. These data suggest that the pattern and types of setae on the pedipalps of solifuges may be phylogenetically informative and confirm that the pedipalps do function as sensory appendages.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1