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pseudoscorpions

OLogy Series
animal
card
155

pseudoscorpions

OLogy Series
animal

If you ever find a pseudoscorpion in your bathtub, don't worry! These tiny arachnids are harmless to humans. Although the pseudoscorpion has pincer-like claws that look like a scorpion's, the pseudoscorpion lacks a stinger. When they are in search of moisture, pseudoscorpions often become stranded in sinks or bathtubs, unable to climb out over the smooth surface.

Hitchhikers
Since pseudoscorpions don't have wings, how are these tiny creatures able to travel great distances? The pseudoscorpion's secret is that it "hitchhikes" a ride on airborne insects such as flies, beetles, and wasps. They're sometimes even found on the bodies of birds and mammals. If a pseudoscorpion winds up in human cargo, it can travel thousands of miles in the air or by sea.

The poisonous substance in the claws of pseudoscorpions is called:

venom

blood

spit

Are you right?

Correct!

All arachnids, including the pseudoscorpion, use venom to kill and eat their prey. Venom causes an animal's insides to turn to liquid. Kind of like an insect milkshake! Most spider venom is harmless to humans.

Which statement is true about pseudoscorpions?

They have long fangs.

They have bad attitudes.

They have bad eyesight.

Are you right?

Correct!

Pseudoscorpions have poor vision. To find out when prey is near, they use little sensory hairs on their "hands" called pedipalps. When an insect brushes against one of the hairs, it triggers a reaction to grab the insect.

Pseudoscorpions are harmless to humans and can also be beneficial to us.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Pseudoscorpions feed on a variety of insects that are pests to humans, including moth larvae, small flies, and tiny arthropods called booklice.

The pseudoscorpion cannot walk backward.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Using a crab-like walk, pseudoscorpions can travel backward or forward in any direction.

pseudoscorpion
Scientific name: Dactylochelifer copiosus Hoff
Size: 2 to 8 millimeters long
Diet: other arthropods smaller than themselves
Habitat: in caves, under rocks, and in houses throughout the world (except for the Arctic)
Characteristics: tiny beige arachnid with long pincers or pedipalps
Significance: helps control insect pest populations

Image credits: courtesy of Dr. Antonia J. Ferreira, California Academy of Sciences.