Last updated on February 8th, 2023 at 11:16 am
Are there pseudoscorpions in Canada? You might surprised to learn that are in fact many species of them there, despite the northern lattitude…
There are presently 25 species of pseudoscorpions in Canada, which is a five-fold increase from a 1979 estimate. However, there is scant knowledge of the distribution and diversity of these species in Canada. Still, scientists predict they may find at least 27 more species in the country. The 46 barcode index numbers on specimens indicate more pseudoscorpions not yet identified.
There are many pseudoscorpion species living all over Ontario. Each species is unique and hunts its prey in a distinctive way. While many chases aggressively, a few species prefer to lie low and ambush their prey.
For instance, some attack an insect that brushes on their hair, attracting attention. Because of the poison glands in their pincers, they immediately paralyze their prey when they clamp down. Like a spider feeds, the pseudoscorpion injects saliva into its prey, then consumes the liquefied contents. Nonetheless, like in other parts, the pseudoscorpions in Ontario are harmless to animals and human beings.
Are There Pseudoscorpions in Ontario?
Ontario is home to several pseudoscorpion species, some being the oldest in the history of these insects. The following are three common species in Ontario:
1. Chelifer cancroides (Linnaeus, 1758)
Chelifer cancroides (Linnaeus, 1758) is among the oldest species in Ontario and can be about 2.5 to 5.5 mm in length. It has a teardrop-shaped body with long pedipalps, approximately 7 to 9 mm. additionally, its abdomen has 12 segments, with only ten visible, and has one pair of eyes on the cephalothorax. It is entirely rich mahogany in color.
2. Chernes lymphatus (Hoff, 1949)
This pseudoscorpion species can survive in the fields for over six months in Ontario. The unique fact about Chernes lymphatus (Hoff, 1949) is that it can survive in captivity.
3. Apochthonius moestus (Banks, 1891)
It is a member of the family Chthoniidae and is common in Canada and the United States of America. In Canada, it is dominant in Ontario.
Are there scorpions in Canada?
The northern scorpion is the main scorpion species you can find in Canada. The five-cm-long northern scorpion resides beneath rocks, logs, or other vegetation. At night, they go outside to hunt insects and other small animals that they may catch in their pincers. Scorpions utilize a cunning strategy to avoid attack by their predators because they have a weak vision.
Under UV light, they emit a sinister greenish, yellow glare. According to scientists, under UV radiation exposure, their entire body acts as a primitive eye that can sense light but cannot create images. By recognizing the moonlight and stars, they can then judge whether it is bright enough outside for predators to see them.
They use their stingers to inject venom like a spider and paralyze their prey whenever they spot one. However, they are not known to attack human beings. The northern scorpion, which can live for up to two years, has evolved to hibernate throughout the Canadian winter.
Where Would you Find a Pseudoscorpion?
You can spot pseudoscorpions in dark and damp places in your home or outdoors. Inside the house, you can find them in crevices, behind furniture, in basements, bathrooms, or cracks. They are common in the outdoors under leaves, stones, tree barks, or bird and animal nests.
Where are pseudoscorpions found?
Pseudoscorpions are common worldwide and can live in any habitat. However, they prefer warm and humid conditions where they thrive best. While most species love the outdoor conditions, two would rather be indoors; Chelifer cancroides and Cheiridium museorum. These two can only survive inside the house or in shady areas where they can feed on household invertebrates.
In addition, it is common to find pseudoscorpions in gardens, where they are helpful to humans. The existence of pseudoscorpions may indicate a healthy garden environment. They are scavengers that consume a variety of invertebrates. Despite pedipalps that may inject poison, pseudoscorpions are incapable of harming humans.
Where are Scorpions Found in Canada?
Canada is home to two scorpions: the northern scorpion and the pseudoscorpion, which is not a real scorpion. The northern scorpion is the most cold-tolerant and survives well in the Canadian climate. You can find this scorpion in the southern regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
The house pseudoscorpion (Chelifer cancroides (L.) is a minute arachnid of about 2 – 8 mm in length. It has one large pair of pedipalps and four pairs of legs. They can easily go unnoticed due to their secretive lifestyle and minute nature. Frequently, you may discover these tiny tick-like creatures in your bathroom sink or bathtub; some people mistake them for tiny spiders.
It is easy to identify a house pseudoscorpion from its color, rich mahogany. Its four pairs of legs keep increasing in length, and it has an eye on either side of its cephalothorax. After mating and reproduction, the young house pseudoscorpion molts about three times before maturity. It undergoes the following stages to adulthood:
It takes between 10 to 24 months for the developmental phase, which is temperature-dependent. Adults can live for three or four years and do not molt.
Can a pseudoscorpion hurt you?
Even with pseudoscorpion infestation in your house, you know you are safe because the tiny creatures cannot hurt you or your pets. They feed on the unwanted moth larvae on your clothes, furniture, and around your sinks. Like other scorpions, they produce venom, but their small amount and intensity cannot cause any danger to humans.
Pseudoscorpions are common in Alberta, crawling in gardens and inside houses. They thrive best outdoors, where they bury themselves under rocks, leaf litter, and soil. They display phoretic behavior, meaning they move by hitchhiking. They feed on smaller insects and moth larvae and can withstand the Alberta climate.
Though there are only a few species further west, you can also find Pseudoscorpions in British Columbia and Washington State.
Why am I Finding Pseudoscorpions in My House?
Pseudoscorpions can enter your house by hitchhiking on other insects, such as beetles and flies backs. You can also bring them home from the fields on firewood, where they rest without your notice. Once they get to your house, you may not notice them immediately because they hide in dark places.
Though only a few came into the house, with time, you may start noticing more as they hide in damp areas where they reproduce. They will spread throughout the house in the basement, kitchen sinks, laundry, and bathroom area. However, as their population grows, you can see them in any room. You will likely see pseudoscorpions in your house during the warmer days of summer and spring.
While they resemble an actual scorpion in many aspects, pseudoscorpions lack a tail or a stinger, which makes them harmless. Their claws or pincers have venom glands that produce the venom they use to kill their prey; mites and springtails. Therefore, with no danger to your life, they can only annoy you in cases of significant infestation.
On the other hand, these harmless pseudoscorpions can benefit humans in some ways. First, they limit the multiplication of other harmful insects by feeding on insect larvae. They also clear the moth larvae on your stored clothes, which could otherwise irritate your skin.
Are There Scorpions in Ontario?
The only scorpion living in Ontario is a pseudoscorpion, which scientists do not consider an actual scorpion. It is difficult for the northern scorpion, the only other scorpion in Canada, to survive in the cold Ontario conditions. Most scorpion species prefer and live well in hot and dry climatic conditions, unlike in Ontario City.
Nevertheless, pseudoscorpion, which thrives in humid conditions, thrives best in Ontario. It can easily hide, feed, and reproduce indoors or outdoors in the city’s damp conditions.
FAQ Relating to Pseudoscorpion in Canada
Are Pseudoscorpions Rare?
Though pseudoscorpions are common in many environments and habitats, it is easy to conclude that they are rare since they are hard to see. For example, you can have an infestation in your house and fail to notice because they hide in unlikely places, such as between book pages, the reason they are called book scorpions or false scorpions.
Can Pseudoscorpions be Helpful to Humans?
Pseudoscorpions have significant value to humans in the home and garden. When they invade your garden, they feed on unwanted insects like mites, which would otherwise destroy your crops. Inside your house, they help eradicate other harmful tiny insects and insect larvae, keeping your home safe and insect-free.
Is A Pseudoscorpion Considered a Tick?
The tiny, teardrop-shaped pseudoscorpions have a close relation to ticks, spiders, and scorpions. Most people seeing them for the first time can mistake them for ticks due to their size and color. However, the primary distinguishing factor is that pseudoscorpions are smaller than ticks.
Are Pseudoscorpions benefical?
Pseudoscorpions are not only harmless but also valuable to humans. They are an ideal and natural insect control method since they feed on the larvae before it matures. Therefore, if you are thinking of eradicating pseudoscorpions in your house, you may need to reconsider.
The climate of Canada does not support the growth of many scorpion species. Nonetheless, the following are some facts about the country and scorpions:
- The northern scorpion is the only surviving true scorpion species in Canada
- Pseudoscorpion is common in Canada since it appreciates humid conditions
- There are many pseudoscorpion species in Ontario, Canada
- Pseudoscorpions are harmless to human life