Image: Aldo Tapia A. via Flickr
Isn't it terrible? You're on your summer holidays, trying to get through your list of 100 things to do before you die. You swam with dolphins, you parachuted from a plane, you even showered in a waterfall using actual fruits and flowers as shampoo and shower gel. You persevered through that last one even though you felt dirtier the longer it went on and you had to take a long bath afterwards to get the stench of rotting fruit out of your hair.
Now you're onto number 57: overthrow a national government.
It hasn't gone as well as you'd hoped. Many of your co-conspirators have been captured and you had to admit defeat and run for the hills. I say hills, I really mean dunes, because you cleverly ensured you had a good, well provisioned escape route through the desert. They'll never suspect that!
You feel uneasy, though. You can see for miles across the barren landscape and you know no-one's following you, and yet... you can't help but feel you're being watched. Always. Watched.
Could it be the dreaded Sicarius? If it is, you're already dead. No-one escapes that elite group of desert assassins.
Their very name sends a chill down your spine, which actually feels quite nice in the desert heat. The sica was an ancient dagger or short sword. Sicarius means "dagger-man". And that became the Latin word for "assassin".
They are clearly very proud of their work. Unfortunately this pride isn't enough for them to loudly proclaim their presence for all to hear. That would be useful. Instead, you're more likely to just suddenly become dead while out on a walk.
Sicarius is a genus of spiders from the deserts of South America and Africa. They are expert ambush predators who can disappear in seconds, becoming completely hidden beneath the sand. They have a flattened body to help out and grains of sand even stick to their back so that their camouflaged even when they're not buried.
Deserts are famed for being mostly dead, so it can be a long wait before something pleasing walks by. Sicarius