Pseudoscorpions: Pseudoscorpiones

Pseudoscorpions are another order of arachnids that largely go unnoticed, yet have colonized just about every environment. Chances are, you’ve seen one, but mistaken it for a tick or small spider. The largest species only grows up to half an inch long. They’ve been found on remote islands, in caves and above the timberline; but unlike mites, thankfully, none of them live on your face.

Pseudoscorpions get their name from, well, looking like a false scorpion. Instead of a stinging telson (the “bulb” at the end of a scorpion’s tail), their venom glands are located in their pedipalps. They prey on many pest species, like clothes moth larvae, and are considered to be generally beneficial to people. Like horseshoe crabs, pseudoscorpions have not evolved much since their first appearance in the fossil record nearly 380 million years ago. Why fix something that was done right the first time?

Pseudoscorpion Fun Fact! I truly did not expect pseudoscorpions to be venomous animals, considering the lack of a telson or fangs. But it gets weirder than that. Pseudoscorpions have glands near their chelicerae that produce silk. They will spin cocoons to provide a safe location to molt in, or, in more temperate regions, overwinter in.