Pseudoscorpions are a fascinating but seldom seen group of arachnids. As their name hints, they resemble scorpions, with a pair of pincers at the front, but they lack a stinging tail.

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What do pseudoscorpions eat?

Pseudoscorpions prey on other invertebrates, including booklice, springtails, mites and small insects. Many are active hunters, stalking among leaf litter and dead wood, while others ambush their prey from crevices in trees and rocks.

Are pseudoscorpions venomous?

These tiny predators are armed with glands in their pincers that contain a venomous cocktail of enzymes and toxins, injected via the pincer tips to immobilise their catch before they cover their meal with saliva to liquify it.

Can pseudoscorpions fly?

Pseudoscorpions can't fly but have solved the problem of how to disperse without wings. The ingenious arachnids have evolved a behaviour known as phoresy: they attach to flying species, such as flies, beetles and even bats, which unwittingly transport them to a new location.

How big are pseudoscorpions?

They are usually between 2 to 8 mm but some species can grow up to 12mm

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Main image: Pseudoscorpion © Cristina Menta, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Authors

Laurie Jackson headshot
Laurie JacksonEcologist and writer

Laurie is an ecologist and writer, and has been contributing to BBC Wildlife since 2018.

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