This isn’t a very good photo, but I am very excited to have finally found a pseudoscorpion, thirty or more years after I first read about them. Pseudoscorpions are arachnids, like spiders and true scorpions, and they are found in a wide variety of habitats worldwide–including at least one species that likes to inhabit old books, where it feeds on booklice. They are part of the complex world of tiny animals that fills every garden but is largely unseen, even by the most observant gardeners.
The largest pseudoscorpion species is only about a centimeter long, and most of the 3000+ species are only a few millimeters long. Unlike true scorpions, they lack a tail with venomous stinger, and instead they have venom glands connected to their pincers. But don’t fear; the venom is only a cause for concern if you are a tiny creature like a mite or a springtail that the pseudoscorpion might like to eat.
I found this pseudoscorpion while I was hammering wooden plugs inoculated with shiitake mycelia into some fresh oak logs to expand my mushroom garden. I suddenly noticed a tiny creature scurrying across the bark near my mallet. At first glance, I wondered if it might be a newly hatched tick, but its movement didn’t seem quite right. As soon as I looked a little more closely, I knew exactly what it must be. Unfortunately, it is right at the edge of my camera’s focusing ability, but I’m glad to have some sort of permanent record even if it is a but blurry. Maybe I should get one of those little macro lenses for my iphone, in case I find another one in the next thirty years.