A Pseudoscorpion Carries Her Young - Observation of the Week, 5/19/21

Our Observation of the Week is this adult Pseudoscorpion and its offspring, seen in India by @abhiapc!

When it comes to arachnids, most of us are familiar with spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites and maybe harvestmen (often called daddy long-legs). But Class Arachnida also counts other wonders among its ranks, including the tiny pseudoscorpions (Order Pseudoscorpiones)! 

Abhijith A.P.C. is a homeopathic doctor in India, where he also runs a ten acre organic farm and for the last six years has been studying and photographing arachnids, including pseudoscorpions. “Like spiders,” he says,

[pseudoscorpions] are very essential in checking insect populations and they hunt on ants, beetles, bees and other bark insects...Other than tree bark I have seen them inside Honey bee boxes. We keep more than 10 bee boxes in our farm and pseudoscorpions live there.

While he’s seen pseudoscorpions carrying eggs, this month he was able to document parental behavior in pseudoscorpions.

Here juveniles had come out of their eggs and one juvenile was moving on the ‘females abdomen. The rest (around three more) were in the ventral aspect of the abdomen.

This observation was made inside the Honeybee box. I didn’t have a camera to document this so I immediately rushed home and came back with a camera... Luckily pseudoscorpions with juveniles didn’t move much. The I opened the box, as light entered, the pseudoscorpion started running in search of a dark place. It was moving in between bee hives. As my concentration was with the pseudoscorpions, the bees started stinging! Before the pseudoscorpion moved inside the crevice of the bee box, I managed to get a few pics and this is a collage of that.

Not growing much larger than 12mm (0.5 in), pseudoscorpions do have pincer-shaped pedipalps like those of “true” scorpions, but lack the tail-like appendages of those larger arachnids. And while scorpions pack a venomous stinger at the tips of their tails, pseudoscorpions inject venom through their pincers. As was so beautifully documented here, females are known to carry their recently-born young for several days. 

As I mentioned previously, Abhijith (above) has been seriously interested in arachnids for about six years now (he’s also been birding for about a decade) and joined forces with other arachnid enthusiasts to make Team SALIGA, “where we do many awareness programs...We also have a group of 150 spider enthusiasts who are keenly observing spiders & this group is called “KARNATAKA SPIDER CLUB”.

Of iNat, Abhijith tells me “just a year back I was introduced to this beautiful platform. From then I have added nearly 400 observations & mostly all on spiders. I can’t find any better platform to share our joy of nature observation & also learn from others.”

Photo of Abhijith by Sumukha javagal.

- Abijith was profiled in print and video by the Deccan Herald, check it out!

- More of Abhijith's photos can be found on his Flickr page.

- Pseudoscorpions often grab onto larger invertebrates as a way to travel to another location, which is called phoresis. Quite a few of the most-faved pseudoscoropion observations on iNat document this behavior, like this one.

- The work of another member of Team SALIGA, @vipinbaliga, was featured in an Observation of the Week post over five years ago!

Posted by tiwane tiwane, May 20, 2021 06:03


Cool observation!
More on Pseudoscorpions and bees - a symbiosis: http://ujubee.com/?p=1104
Jenny has also recorded cleaner bees feeding parasites to Pseudoscorpions

Posted by tonyrebelo over 1 year ago (Flag)

That is so cool! We’re so grateful you put up with the stinging bees so you could share this observation with us!

Posted by lisa_bennett over 1 year ago (Flag)

Great observation, congratulations!

Posted by nelson_wisnik over 1 year ago (Flag)

What a wonderful observation! Thank you Abhijith for sharing it with us.

Posted by lz_ over 1 year ago (Flag)

This is such a great observation! Thank you Abhijith!

Posted by susanhewitt over 1 year ago (Flag)

Great observation!

Posted by christmasleech123 over 1 year ago (Flag)

Oh sure, somebody ELSE'S pseudoscorpion obs makes it to Observation of the Week, but not mine! Oh well. Great observation anyway.

Posted by fluffyinca over 1 year ago (Flag)

@fluffyinca When you have to climb into a bee hive, go home for your camera, and get stung, and get pictures like these, we will vote for your observation! Promise.

Posted by tonyrebelo over 1 year ago (Flag)

What a great observation. I enjoyed the accompanying story as well! Thank you for educating us on pseudoscorpions.

Posted by amzapp over 1 year ago (Flag)


Posted by leef over 1 year ago (Flag)

Love it!

Posted by sullivanribbit over 1 year ago (Flag)

Oh, thats amazing! Super cool observation! Also nicely photographed!

Posted by ajott over 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks for posting this!

Posted by robinellison over 1 year ago (Flag)

Looks awesome! Scorpion taking young with her on back! WOW!

Posted by noahbev over 1 year ago (Flag)


Posted by dinofelis over 1 year ago (Flag)

Beautiful shots and observation <3

Posted by flowntheloop over 1 year ago (Flag)

Wow so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!!

Posted by quercusboletus over 1 year ago (Flag)

Wonderful photos and story!!

Posted by ksprague over 1 year ago (Flag)

Amazing observation this!

Posted by vipinbaliga about 1 year ago (Flag)

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