The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Photo Friday: Arctic pseudoscorpion

As I mentioned on Wednesday, one of my fellow travelers (my advisor) was collecting pseudoscorpions while in the Yukon. Specifically, he was targeting Wyochernes asiaticus, a Beringian species. He wrote a wonderful and poignant post about his love for these critters, which I invite you to read here: Why I study obscure and strange little animals.

I actually completely fell in love with pseudoscorpion-hunting. It involved turning over rocks – perhaps one of the most fundamental entomological collection methods, and one that nearly all of us did for fun as kids. It was with great, child-like glee that I would spot these tiny (2-3mm) creatures, sometimes with their bright yellow egg masses brood pouches (thanks Dave!) adhered to their abdomens, upon turning over just the right rock at just the right place on the bank of a rocky creek.

These critters are poorly documented – I don’t know if any photographs showing live specimens of this species existed before this trip.  Well, they do now! The very small size of these animals made the photo shoot challenging, but well worth the effort.

A female Arctic pseudoscorpion, Wyochernes asiaticus, with her brood pouch

A female Arctic pseudoscorpion, Wyochernes asiaticus (brood pouch removed)

Female Wyochernes asiaticus with her brood pouch

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7 responses to “Photo Friday: Arctic pseudoscorpion

  1. Dan Bodor August 10, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Cool. We were just on the coast of Croatia last month and were looking for scorpions. Under one rock I found a small brown scorpion, about 2cm length, in the defensive contracted posture (Euscorpius hadzii perhaps? Do lengths usually include the tail and claws outstretched? What is the standard measurement position?). Very close to this I found two tiny creatures, each about 2mm, that looked like scorpions but without tails. We assumed those were newly hatched scorpions. But now that I’ve read your post, I wonder if those were pseudoscorpions instead. Do they tend to live together?

  2. Dave August 10, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Very fine pictures of such a tiny animal (and a fascinating animal too).

    Unless Wyochernes asiaticus is a very unusual pseudoscorpion, though, the yellow pouch is probably a brood sac filled with developing embryos rather than an ‘egg mass’. In those pseudoscorpions that have been studied, the eggs hatch internally and the ’embryos’ (not the best term for a post-egg stage, probably ‘larvae’ would be better) enter the brood sac where the mother bathes them in nutritional fluids. They moult twice within the sac and at the second moult the nymphs emerge and have to live independent of the mother.

  3. Sean McCann August 11, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Pseudoscorpions are very strange indeed. I like how they hitch rides on insects: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadmike/189979985/
    Great post and great photos!

  4. scott hogsten August 14, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Way cool!

  5. Pingback: Ten facts about Pseudoscorpions › Expiscor

  6. Pingback: Explainer: what is a pseudoscorpion? - Technology Org

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