Pseudoscorpiones

These unusual arthropods are 1-8 mm long and have large pedi-palps. They are yellowish brown to dark brown and resemble scorpions, but are much smaller and lack the enlarged tail. The carapace is large and on it are the eyes, and the six pairs of appendages. Chelicerae are situated in front of the mouth and they are composed of two segments: one movable and one stationary. Ducts of the silk glands open at the tip of the movable segment, and salivary glands are located in the che-licerae. Pedipalps serve as prehensile organs to capture and kill prey; the coxae are usually large and serve to crush food close to the mouth. The ambulatory legs are long and setose. Pseudoscorpions are carnivorous and feed on collembolans, psocids, thysanurans, and other small arthropods. Adults eat only once or twice a month, but the nymphs eatmore frequently. Prey is grasped by pincers on the pedipalps and brought to the chelicerae; these organs pierce the cuticle and inject enzymatic saliva into the body. The liquefied internal contents of the host body are taken into the mouth.

Most of the nearly 2000 species live in leaf litter, under bark, and in other decaying vegetation. A large number of species live in the nests of ants and termites, and the females of at least 25 species are reported to cling to the legs of flies and other arthropods as a means of dispersal (phoresy). In Europe, a common phoretic species is Lamprochernes nodosus, which is found on the legs of house flies and syrphid flies. Some pseudoscorpions regularly occur or live indoors, including Chelifer cancroides, Allochernes italicus, and Cheiridium museorum.Anumber of species are associated with stored-food products in warehouses and occur in the nests of birds. These species include Withius subruber, Cheiridium museorum, and Toxochernes panzeri.

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