Friday Photo: 20 June

June 20th, 2014 at 8:59 am by Chthoniid

One of the most ubiquitous arachnids we have in NZ are pseudoscorpions (we have a lot of species).  Despite their wide distribution, most people will never see one.  The reason is two fold.  First, they’re very small. Most have a body-length less than 2mm.  The second is they’re quite cryptic.  While they’re adept predators they also dislike being in the light.  You can find them in leaf litter, bird’s nests, under rocks, sometimes even on native birds (where they hunt parasites).  There are also some species that are phoresic.  They hitch a ride on another arthropod for dispersal.

This is where I spotted this adult female.  She was hanging on to the leg of a house fly.  The species is Thallosocherens tairensis and is one of out most widely seen.  Even so, its still very very small.

To take this shot I needed a microscope adapter (24x).  This left a depth-of-field that was razor thin, so it took a few shots to get the front edge of the carapace in focus.  What you get to see here is greatly magnified.

Click for larger, higher res image

Tags: ,

7 Responses to “Friday Photo: 20 June”

  1. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    Thanks, Chthoniid. Always appreciated.

    But I’m curious… you mention: First, they’re very small. …quite cryptic. ….dislike being in the light. …find them… under rocks

    Sounds a bit like the ‘redbaitus laeviculus’ parasite – the scum suckling bottom dweller found in the Bay of Plenty. It eats, shits and scuttles out of sight – someone said it spends all day running around in circles looking for strawmen.

    Have you heard of this species? Is it related to the Thallosocherens tairensis in your pikkie?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Cheers- it’s been animal I’ve been trying to get a pic of for a while (years). Even then I had to push the aperture hard to get a decent DOF and there’s a bit of diffraction.

    There’s some work been done on using them as a biological control for Varroa mite bees as well.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. mikenmild (11,231 comments) says:

    Elaycee
    LOL. Have you ever sighted such a creature?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    @Milkmilo: No…. but I’ve heard it (so to speak) – makes lots of noise and apparently generates copious amounts of hot air.

    Like the (unfortunate) by-product someone can produce after consuming far too much lasagne. 8O

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. mikenmild (11,231 comments) says:

    I’ve heard it sometimes pops out from under a rock to shower excrement liberally on its enemies, but mainly manages to soil itself.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    on a more serious note …. congratulations … good capture of a difficult subject … try, try, try again …. one of the advantages of digital :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. SGA (931 comments) says:

    8:59 am by Chthoniid

    They hitch a ride on another arthropod for dispersal.
    This is where I spotted this adult female. She was hanging on to the leg of a house fly.

    The wikipedia article on pseudoscorpions has a photo of such behaviour (different species though). Whoda thunk it – ain’t nature grand.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.