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
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."
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