Macro Monday: Pseudoscorpion

A few years ago, I was forced to destroy a wasp nest that had been developing on our garage door frame, as it was becoming a danger to us when we entered or left the garage. The morning after my dastardly night foray, I took a look at the remnants of the nest. While spraying had damaged the outer covering, the internal combs were undamaged, so I gently scraped it away from the frame and took it inside for a closer look. Surprisingly, while all the adults were killed, many of the young larvae, in a variety of stages, survived. And not just the larvae. When I pulled away the remnants of the paper mâché shell, a movement caught my eye, and I was surprised to find a small pseudoscorpion scurrying about the inner surface.

Besides having rather effective-looking claws, each of which contain a venom gland in the moveable ‘finger’; they also have a formidable set of mouthparts, which have silk glands for making cocoons that can be used for protection when molting or during the cold season.

Venomous claws and barbed, piercing mouthparts make this a formidable predator. Thankfully, with a body length of only 2 mm, we have nothing to fear from this tiny arachnid.

How did it get into the nest? Possibly it was an opportunist, latching on a foraging wasp with a claw and getting a free ride (known as phoresy) to the nest.

(27 July, 2014. Canon 5D Mk II with Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens and diffused Canon MT-24EX Twin Lite Flash. Top photo, ISO 200, 1/125 sec. @ f11, the middle white background photo @f9 and the last photo with mm scale: f13.)

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