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Pseudoscorpion

Here's another photo from a viewer -
A modern-day pseudoscorpion sitting on the head of a U.S. penny. This is actually an arachnid that mimics scorpions as a defense mechanism. They are only present when micro-organisms like lice and other  bugs are present, or in very humid conditions. 

 

Here's an interesting arachnid, called a Pseudoscorpion. It belongs to the same family as spiders, along with scorpions, mites and ticks. This photo was also sent in by Jon Triffo,  from Saskatchewan in Canada. Here's Jon's information and his photo.  Thanks for the great photo, Jon!! 

Pseudoscorpions or "Book scorpions" are about 4mm long, flat-bodied arachnids with a short, usually oval abdomen. They have a pair of large pincer like claws (pedipalps) that project forward from the front of the body. There is no curved upward stinger from the rear tip of the abdomen as found in true scorpions. The body colour ranges from yellowish-tan to dark-brown, with the paired claws sometimes black. Some have 2 or 4 eyes while others have none. Legs are 5-segmented. 

Here's Jon's information:
"They are surprisingly toxic, but only to tiny creatures as they are unable to pinch through human flesh or deliver any significant dose of venom. As it is their pincers that are armed with venom, they tend to react like mini, wee boxers when approached. I've found some to be even pugnacious and always ready for a fight, irregardless of any mismatch in weight classification. I have yet to find any way of keeping pseudoscorpions alive for more than several days, so I no longer try to keep them in captivity. It's just not fair to the wonderful little creatures. Domestically, I've observed that they usually irrupt from household hiding places whenever ant bait is set out to kill ants throughout a home. Perhaps there are ecological links between ants and pseudoscorpions.

I placed a small green fly, similar to a lacewing, in a jar with a pseudoscorpion once. When I saw that the fly was more than twice the size of the pseudoscorpion, I thought that maybe I should continue looking for more suitable prey. The pseudoscorpion approached the fly, however, and repeatedly jabbed at it it with its pincers. Within several minutes the fly was either paralysed or deceased and the pseudoscorpion was feasting upon it! Much to my dismay, however, the pseudoscorpion died two days later.

In a school in Toronto, Ontario, I set up a macro photography display and I used a mounted pseudoscorpion on a pin as my subject of focus. Each class in the school, with all the teachers and many parents, toured the exhibit after I presented a brief introduction and workshop on wildlife photography. 98% of all the participants in the tour lined up to view and practice focusing on the amazing little pseudoscorpion. Some of them, especially the kids of course, began looking for pseudoscorpions in their own homes. The venomous little wonder became a bit of a sensation in an inner city school that was very "challenging" to teach in.

I don't know if Australia has pseudoscorpions or not . . . if they exist there, I hope your school finds them plentiful and fascinating."

Jon
Checilerata Pseudoscorpions More Pseudoscorpions
Washington Uni - Pseudoscorpions Arachnology Iowa Insect Info
Pseudoscorpionida Pseudoscorpions Discover Life in America

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