Friday Photo: 20 June

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

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