Pseudoscorpion, line drawing. Pseudoscorpions or 'false scorpions' belong to the Order Pseudoscorpionida.
- Andrew Howells
- © Australian Museum
What do pseudoscorpions look like?
- Less than 10 mm in length.
- No constriction between the cephalothorax (front portion containing head) and the abdomen.
- Abdomen is segmented, cigar- to tear-drop shaped, flattened and appears hard.
- Two or four eyes along front margins of cephalothorax, but some species may have no eyes at all.
- For mashing and chopping up prey and slurping liquids.
- Eight legs.
- Pedipalps (appendages between first legs and mouthparts) are large with pincers (chela) at their ends.
Where are pseudoscorpions found?
- On land in many habitats including deserts.
- In leaf litter, under bark and rocks.
What do pseudoscorpions do?
- Pseudoscorpions are usually solitary but some live in groups.
- When disturbed they run under cover.
- They have venom that is delivered via glands in their pincers. The venom is used to paralyse prey and is not harmful to humans.
- All pseudoscorpions are predators feeding on other invertebrates. They use their pincers to clasp prey, inject venom and then liquefy victims with digestive juices.
- They move with their pincers outstretched in front.
- Most spin silk that is generally used for home building and protecting pseudoscorpions that are moulting or breeding.
- Some species move from one region to the next by clinging to larger animals (mostly insects).
- They are active at night. If active during the day it is generally in dark places.
What looks similar?
- Scorpions are easily distinguished from pseudoscorpions as they have long tails with stingers and are usually larger than 10 mm.