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The Iraqi Camel Spider


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Well of course I have to jump to the defense of spiders. ;)

 

The picture is most likely not exactly fake, but certainly shot in a way that exaggerates their size. They're about the size of a tarantula normally. Camel spiders are not even really spiders, they're arachnids but are more closely related to scorpions than spiders. They aren't unique to Iraq - I've seen them in California - and they aren't venomous at all (unlike the rumors going around).

 

Read more here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0629_040629_camelspider.html

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

The picture is most likely not exactly fake, but certainly shot in a way that exaggerates their size.

Yup. Notice the size of the guy's sleeve, and the standard-size pliers used to hold the fella. Wide-angle lenses can be such fun!

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Well of course I have to jump to the defense of spiders. ;)

 

The picture is most likely not exactly fake, but certainly shot in a way that exaggerates their size. They're about the size of a tarantula normally. Camel spiders are not even really spiders, they're arachnids but are more closely related to scorpions than spiders. They aren't unique to Iraq - I've seen them in California - and they aren't venomous at all (unlike the rumors going around).

 

Read more here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0629_040629_camelspider.html

A spider by any other name is still a spider.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by Botch.:

Originally posted by Lee Flier:

The picture is most likely not exactly fake, but certainly shot in a way that exaggerates their size.

Yup. Notice the size of the guy's sleeve, and the standard-size pliers used to hold the fella. Wide-angle lenses can be such fun!
You're so close, then..

 

It's not a wide angle lens. more likely a short telephoto, used from a "safe" distance. Regardless, the picture was not taken to fool anyone, IMO. People have assumed it's intended to make the camel spiders look half the size of the human leg in the background. I'd estimate their size at 3-4 inches for the body.

 

There are other threads linking the same pic here in which I described my experience with camel spiders. Put succinctly, we were told to watch out for them in Kuwait and Qatar. They're not venemous, but pack a mean bite and are extremely aggressive. On our way out of Kandahar, Afghanistan, several C-130 crewmen were climbing on our gear pallet. I found out later they were hunting down a camel spider that stowed away on our gear. :eek: I half expected to find the carcass among our PA and instruments when we unloaded the pallet.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

It's not a wide angle lens. more likely a short telephoto, used from a "safe" distance.
Respectfully disagree. Just from the perspective, and the fact that the spider and the leg in the background are in pretty good focus, it was a wide-angle used up very close.

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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Guys, these so called "Camel Spiders" are for real! I wrote about them on another thead here a short while back (zeronyne was scared of a spider I recall).

 

I used to work in the Sultanate of Oman in the Middle East, just a short hop over the Persian Gulf from Iraq. Camel spiders are common over there. They are exactly as depicted in the photo above. The ones in that photo are actually not that big - I have seen bigger ones. They are nasty hairy buggers! People used to catch them and pot them in acrylic for paper weights (just like mine below).

 

They get their name from the fact that they eat camels - yes, they EAT CAMELS! - well, bits of them anyway. At night, when the camels sit down to sleep, these spiders creep up on them, pick a nice soft bit of camel skin to attack (like their undersides) and then bite into the camel, injecting a mild form of natural local anesthetic as they do so. The camel doesn't feel a thing. The spider eats until it's full, then drops off and goes on its merry way, leaving a long wound on the camel. You can see these eat tracks on many of the camels out there.

 

Rumour had it that one fellow fell asleep on the beach one day and had his bottom lip eaten away by one. That really is most likely an urban myth.....but who knows for sure?

 

Here's a piccy of my Wolf Spider that I caught out there. Not so big as the camel spiders, but just as nasty - these buggers jump at you from about a meter away!!

 

http://www.jardini.com/WolfSpider_s.jpg

 

I have lots of other cool/weird photos from over there - sometime I'll scan 'em in and post them.

 

Cheers,

:DTR

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Originally posted by Botch.:

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

It's not a wide angle lens. more likely a short telephoto, used from a "safe" distance.
Respectfully disagree. Just from the perspective, and the fact that the spider and the leg in the background are in pretty good focus, it was a wide-angle used up very close.
There's no distortion on the edges. And I can assure you that, with a bright desert day, this photo would have been taken at F16 - F22 (depending on what the camera lens is capable of) at 250th/sec. just to close down enough to get a shot that wasn't washed out, so depth of field would not have been an issue. I don't expect the tele was set more than 80mm, which is barely a telephoto setting anyway, on a 35mm camera.

 

If this was a wide angle shot, they took it from the bare minimum 3 or 4 feet (the limit of most non-macro lenses) and cropped out 90% of the full photo area. Otherwise there is no way they could get this true a shot with no edge distortion.

 

Dave the rave - When were you in Oman? That's where we were based to go forward to Paki and Afghanistan. (We arrived back there when the Camel Spider incident occurred on the C-130. ;) )

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Dave the rave - When were you in Oman? That's where we were based to go forward to Paki and Afghanistan. (We arrived back there when the Camel Spider incident occurred on the C-130. ;) )

I was there from August '79 till March 1982 Neil. I spent time at various places around the country - Thumrait (the middle of nowhere!) inland from Salalah (nice coastal city), Seeb which is just outside Muscat, and the island of Masirah. I was with Marconi Radar, installing, commissioning and servicing radars/comms equipment on Marconi's contract with the Sultan of Oman's Royal Air Force (SOAF), so we got to stay in the Officer's Mess and housing. Pretty nice - especially being able to use the beach club on the Persian Gulf near Muscat! :thu::)

 

The camel and wolf spiders were really nothing to worry about - we were much more concerned with the locals carrying guns...especially during "silly season".

 

Fun times though, and very lucrative also! I'll post some photos sometime.

 

Whereabouts in Oman were you Neil, and when were you there?

 

Cheers,

:DTR

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I'm inclined to agree with Neil. A short telephoto lens was used, probably the equivalent of a 65 to 80 mm lens on a 35mm camera. (Lenses on digital and APS cameras would be shorter for the same perspective effect.)

 

Two reaons. The legs directly behind the spider seem very close, as perspective has been compressed slightly. Second, the legs and boots of the soldier who is standing about twelve to fifteen feet away - behind the "legs" guy, to the left - would appear to be VERY SMALL if a wide angle lens had been used.

 

I don't necessarily agree with the "edges" argument, as the photo could have been cropped.

 

If the photo was taken with a compact digital camera, the aperture would have been more open than f/16. The shorter the lens, the less deeper the depth of field. I'm guessing that it was a compact digital camera with an aperture of f/5.6 giving a fast enough shutter speed to handhold the camera effectively.

 

And the photo was definitely taken by a camel spider. A female. In heat. :D

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by Dave the Rave:

Here's a piccy of my Wolf Spider that I caught out there. Not so big as the camel spiders, but just as nasty - these buggers jump at you from about a meter away!!

 

http://www.jardini.com/WolfSpider_s.jpg

Just curious...

How exactly did you get the spider into whatever the stuff is that you used to make a paper weight out of him?

 

I've seen these things before, but I could never figure out how they were made.

 

I can't figure out how they build ships in bottles either... :confused:

Super 8

 

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I still believe its a wide-angle, but there's no way we can prove it so I'll let it drop. Remember that a lens's focal length does not change perspective, only the viewers eye's distance to the subject changes perspective. Where would your face have to be for a guy's sleeve to look half as large as another guy's legs, standing a couple feet away? ;)

 

I'm not a professional photographer, but I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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Originally posted by Botch.:

...Remember that a lens's focal length does not change perspective, only the viewers eye's distance to the subject changes perspective...

Actually, the lens's focal length absolutely does change perspective. I won't delve into the technical, but the following should clarify. Everytime you see an old movie in which a person appears to be getting further away while approaching you, such as in Hitchcock thrillers, etc., it's achieved by changing the focal length and the camera distance to the point of interest simultaneously. That causes the background perspective to distort while simultaneously the point of interest stays relatively static.

 

It's all about lens design and curvature causing light to bend.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by Dave the Rave:

I was there from August '79 till March 1982 Neil. I spent time at various places around the country - Thumrait (the middle of nowhere!) inland from Salalah (nice coastal city), Seeb which is just outside Muscat, and the island of Masirah. I was with Marconi Radar, installing, commissioning and servicing radars/comms equipment on Marconi's contract with the Sultan of Oman's Royal Air Force (SOAF), so we got to stay in the Officer's Mess and housing. Pretty nice - especially being able to use the beach club on the Persian Gulf near Muscat! :thu::)

 

...Whereabouts in Oman were you Neil, and when were you there?

 

Cheers,

:DTR

I toured Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, and was aboard the U.S.S. J.F.K. and Vicksburg in March, 2002. The band I was mixing, Mink, was the first rock band to go forward in Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion.

 

In Oman, we stayed at a base near Muscat but flew over to Paki and Afghanistan that week, too. Towards the end of week we played Seeb, too. In Oman we had to stay on base, other than the ride to Seeb, so we didn't get to site see their. (Plus, we were stuck on the ground in Kandahar due to weather/SOP rules that required a high cloud ceiling for incoming/outgoing flights from Kandahar.)

 

If you were visited some of the other countries I toured, I think you would be shocked at how Westernized they've become.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Yeah, when camping in the desert I used to see them. I think they're a lot uglier and less elegant than real spiders. :D But yeah, they can move quite a bit faster than tarantulas.

Ergh... so much for sleeping under the stars at Joshua Tree.
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Originally posted by Super 8:

Just curious...

How exactly did you get the spider into whatever the stuff is that you used to make a paper weight out of him?

 

I've seen these things before, but I could never figure out how they were made.

 

I can't figure out how they build ships in bottles either... :confused:

One of the Airworks employees at Thumrait did this as a hobby (and made good money at it!). He had various sized silicone rubber moulds and used a fast setting acrylic (two part stuff). He made them updside-down, so the top dome surface goes in first, then he puts the spider/scorpion in and pours around it. Then, he adds a layer of sand and a final top off. Once it has hardened, he sticks felt on the bottom, polishes it on a wheel and voila, it's done.

 

The biggest problem is getting the darned spider to stay still :D - no, actually, the art is in getting no bubbles, rifts, or flaws in the clear acrylic. The guy that did mine was well practiced at it. I seem to recall that it cost me about $50 and a couple of drinks.

 

:DTR

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