The Mini Scorpion

This post by BugTracks, reminded me of the existence of the pseudoscorpion, or mini scorpion as I say.  Although, it seems more like a crab scorpion now that I think about it.

The one and only encounter I had with a pseudoscorpion was unfortunately a dead one.  Years ago, I was at the scope, sorting through aquatic macroinvertebrates like I did every day, when BAM!  Mini scorpion:

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My brain was going something like this: caddisfly, caddisfly, stonefly, beetle, stonefly, WTF is that?!  I remember jerking my face away from the scope and frowning.  I looked back and it was still there, poised with it’s claws and staring back up at me in a cluster of caddisflies.

I inquired with one of our State entomologists, who worked conveniently across the hall from the lab.  She proclaimed it a pseudoscorpion!  It’s a terrestrial creature, so it must have fallen into our aquatic sample from the edge with some leaves.

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She included one of my photos in the Vermont Entomological Society spring 2009 newsletter, see page 10!  Here’s a brief synopsis, but please read the article for more details:

Pseudoscorpions are arachnids.  They have their own Order (scorpions also are their own Order, to give you an idea of what that means).  Pseudoscorpions are found all over the world in a variety of habitats, from caves, to books on your shelf, and mountains, but probably around here in New England you’ll find them in forested areas among leaf litter and dead trees.  They are small, with the largest up to 1/4 of an inch.

They have an interesting way of moving, described as an “oddly dignified air” and a “majestic stride.”  Video below shows one walking along someone’s palm.  He’s so cute and awkward!! I just want to poke him! ^_^

I think you can really see in that video, how the pseudoscorpion is using his pedipalps (the pincers) to search, explore, and “see” the area around him, exactly what scorpions do as well.

There is some venom in their pinchers which they use to imobilize prey, small insects (don’t worry, not you).  They live 2 to 5 years and engage in intricate mating dances.

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And with that… I find post upon post dedicated to the psuedoscorpion, ah the world of blogging…  Please check out these posts if you want to learn more about these little dudes, the posts are very enjoyable:

post on: Shit You Didn’t Know About Biology

– pseudoscorpion means “false scorpion.”

– it is a very diverse group, “…sports more than 3,000 species in over 400 genera…which is a shit load.” (new one found in Yosemite)

– “These guys could theoretically, comfortably use one of the wrinkles on your thumb knuckle as a cozy blanket. That’s right, pseudoscorpions, the Joe Pescis of the arachnid world, are wee little fuckers, hardly discernible with the naked eye.”

post on: Arthropod Ecology

– a pseudoscorpion hunter, searching the yukon for new species

– he found a pseudoscorpion necklace on Etsy.  Damn.  Stole my idea for my next crafting project!