While taking some pictures of a particular red admiral, I noticed that it had a piece of fluff on its leg. I was actually a little disappointed, as I thought that it would detract from the photo I was attempting to make. I managed about five shots of it before it flew off, and then continued taking photos of all the other butterflies in the backyard.
Imagine my surprise (and joy!) when I downloaded my photos to my computer and discovered that the annoying piece of fluff (my over 40 eyes don't see like they used to!) was a fascinating little creature! I had a pretty good idea as to what it was, so with a little bit of googling I determined that this was a pseudoscorpion!
I am still researching this little arachnid, but for now, here are the...
- Ranges between 2 - 8 mm in length
- A predacious arachnid with venomous pedipalps to help it subdue its prey
- Related to the scorpion... harmless to humans and pets
- Beneficial to humans because they eat many other insects that are thought of as pests. This includes clothes moth larvae, carpet beetle larvae, ants, small flies, mites and booklice to name a few. And according to my photo, they perhaps eat butterflies as well
- They live in leaf litter, under rocks, under bark and within decaying wood
- They can end up in your home, but are harmless
- Are also know as a false scorpion or a book scorpion
|A pseudoscorpion hitching a ride on a butterfly's leg. Click the photo for a larger view|
|A cropped in version to give better detail of the pseudoscorpion|
I am uncertain as to the fate of this butterfly. Was the pseudoscorpion simply hitching a ride, or has it found itself a scrumptious (and rather large) meal? If you know have any more information on this fascinating creature, please feel free to comment!
May 11th update:
According to the good people at http://www.bugguide.net/, the butterfly will not fall victim to this little beast. The pseudoscorpion was indeed just hitchin' a ride! Thanks for the info Ken Wolgemuth
The following websites were used in gathering my information... Check them out for a better understanding of this incredible arachnid!
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/news24_1/pseudoscorpions.htm by Chris Buddle
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/news24_1/pseudoscorpions.htm The Canadian Encyclopedia
http://robhigginsblog.blogspot.ca/2009/04/pseudoscorpions.html by Dr. Rob Higgins