Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pseudoscorpions

Pseudoscorpions usually go unnoticed because of their tiny size.  When someone does notice one, however,  they are often startled by the sight of this tiny animal with the long front legs and huge pincers.

This particular specimen was found just north of Williams Lake and passed along to me for identification.  These are arachnids (related to spiders and true scorpions) but unlike their namesake, the true scorpions, are not at all dangerous.

Pseudoscorpions feed mostly on other tiny animals such as mites.  They have been found in some old libraries where they are feeding on book lice or silverfish, which in turn are eating the books themselves.  Normally, however, they are found outdoors and are only occasionally reported as an indoor pest.  Having said that, I recall frequently finding them in my house in Winnipeg when I was a kid.  I can't say I've seen many of them in British Columbia although I know someone who was studying them here several years ago.

Photo Credit: Me


8 comments:

Stacey said...

I first encountered this little insect while visiting family in Ontario, Canada.
We spotted it in our bed and once found it scurried in a backwards motion with his one claw held high, as though to defend himself against my imposition.
Honestly, I didn't sleep a wink being that I was so petrified of this odd and creepy little bug.
The next day, I discovered a second and final Pseudoscorpion around the base of toilet as I was getting out of the shower.
For the longest time I tried to find a site in which to identify it.
Now I can rest easy in knowing it is in no way harmful to humans, and is "much to MY surprise", a real benefit, in that they can prey other household pests.
Thank you for this much needer and very informative posting.
Now we can visit without any worries!!!
StaceyLee

Stacey said...

If you have any more information on the Pseudoscorpion I am very interested.
Thank you
StaceyLee

Anonymous said...

I first seen one on the bathroom wall just under our mirror! I freaked out because I had no clue what it was. Although my spouse would wake up with welts on his shoulder area. Are you sure they do not bite at humans for the dead skin?
I seem to find at least 2 per week, catch it and put it outside.
I am surprised that you first saw them in Winnipeg as that is where I am currenlty living. Are they common insects of Winnipeg? I would like more information if at all possible on these guys!

Dr. Rob Higgins said...

Probably the best source of additional information for pseudoscorpions in Canada can be found here:

http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/news24_1/pseudoscorpions.htm

They love moisture in homes and that is why you tend to find them most often in bathrooms. I would find them, as a kid in Winnipeg, in my bedroom under old sweaty laundry. I have never heard it reported that they might bother a human.

Bad Karma said...

Wow! The first time we encountered a pseudoscorpian was on a hike at East Sooke Park, just outside of Victoria, BC., but, it was black and while we were baffled by the extended pinchers, we were convinced that it was a tick. Too bad. Bad humans. We killed it! Two weeks later I found another one on some laundry I had hanging on the back porch. This time we looked at it under an enlarging lens and still it looked too much like a black tick — except for these insanely long pinchers. Still, bad humans, we killed it, as well. Thank you for this informative site. I'm glad I didn't give up trying to identify this tiny creature and I'll know better next time.

Nicholas arnold said...

I remember getting out of my car and finding one on my arm. Only thing I could thing of was that it must be some kinda scorpion. Being chilliwack bc I had never seen something like it before soo I asked a friend just said it was something ragular I can't remember what he said but he was sooo far from the truth. It all very interesting to hear about it thank u now I finally know

Nicholas arnold said...

Ooh yaa I found one in chilliwack bc.
Been wondering about it for sooo long. Thank u now I finally know

Robin Tolbert said...

We were camping at Gun Creek campsite, beside Carpenter Lake near Goldbridge BC, Campspot 12, and I had one on my light colored pant leg, then later my wife had one on her shoulder. Initially, thought they were ticks except for their long crab like appendages and small size. Now I realize after reading this that they were pseudoscorpions.

Robin Tolbert, North VAncouver, BC