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Pseudoscorpion

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks
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Kamadejo
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Pseudoscorpion

Unread postby Kamadejo » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:58 pm

Image

Can anyone of the experts ID this small critter? :pray:
Katja

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Jon Richfield
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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Jon Richfield » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:58 pm

Kamadejo wrote:Can anyone of the experts ID this small critter? :pray:

Vaguely yes. How big is it, and where did you find it (window, yes, but where is your window? SA, USA, KZN, KNP...?)

I bet that little fellow is about half a centimetre long. They usually are very small creatures, and I never have heard of one that is even 1.5 cm long. Feel welcome to surprise me by cutting the tail off a giant scorpion! (Only, as I like scorpions, make sure that the scorpion is dead first.)

That was a typical, unmistakable, example of a pseudoscorpion. They are members of the order Pseudoscorpionida, of the class Arachnida, and as such they have the same rank as the spiders, the Aranea. However the Pseudoscorpionida are far less varied than the spiders. They all look like tiny, tiny scorpions without tails. To invertebrologists they are an easily recognisable group, although not many people know much about many species of them because most of them are very small and all of them, when not wondering out other windowpanes, spend their lives in the dark and under bark, stones and so on. Sometimes in dusty rooms one may find them among books and boxes.

Apart from being harmless, they generally are useful, feeding on small pests like booklice and clothes moth larvae (small ones of course!)

There are many interesting things about them, including the fact that they produce silk like some mites and spiders, but the spinnerets are not in the end of the abdomen, but in the jaws. Generally a topsy-turvy lot. Also they do not use the silk for catching prey, but for egg cases, spermatophores and so on.

I hope that helps.

Cheers,

Jon

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Kamadejo
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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Kamadejo » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:11 pm

Thanks Jon for the ID and the wonderful information about this little critter. :clap: :clap:

It was on the Webcam at Orpen today and this pic was saved! :lol:

Thanks again for your help. :thumbs_up:
Katja

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. Einstein

Kamadejo returns to KNP after 7 years
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Jon Richfield
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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Jon Richfield » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:02 pm

Imberbe wrote:
Jon Richfield wrote:
Kamadejo wrote:


Just adding one more interesting fact Jon has not mentioned. They can in fact sting!

Their sting is situated in their pincers, and often in only one of the two. It is rather harmless to humans, though it may cause a surprise! It is used to subdue their prey. [/color]


Thanks Imberbe. They are certainly remarkable in many ways. I must say that the specimens I have handled so far were too small to do any pinching of human fingers or skin, so I don't normally think of the sting. But what rattled me was this bit about only one pincer carrying the sting. That I did not know. Could you please elaborate a bit on that, or perhaps point me at a reference?

Another thing is that they often hitch hike on larger flying insects, which surely must be an important factor in their spread. But I wonder whether it is "deliberate", or whether they actually are trying to attack the insect as prey...?

So many questions..

Go well,

Jon


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