Are there pseudoscorpions in Michigan?

Are there Pseudoscorpions in Michigan?

Have you found a weird little creature that looks like a scorpion with no tail? Then it’s probably a pseudoscorpion – one of Michigan’s tiniest and most misunderstood arachnids.

As an avid follower and observer of the tiny yet magnificent world of arachnids, I’m excited to share some insights into one of my greatest passions: the unique and often overlooked pseudoscorpions, specifically those found in the beautiful state of Michigan.

If you’re already shivering at the thought of scorpions, don’t worry. Pseudoscorpions, despite their name, are not scorpions. They may share some physical characteristics with their namesakes, but they are a different class altogether and definitely less daunting. Now, let’s dive into the minuscule yet fascinating world of these creatures.

What Exactly are Pseudoscorpions?

As our journey begins, it’s crucial first to understand what pseudoscorpions are. Often referred to as ‘false scorpions’ or ‘book scorpions,’ these tiny arachnids are incredibly small, typically ranging from 3mm to 8mm in length. That’s no larger than a sesame seed or a small grain of rice.

Despite their small size, pseudoscorpions sport impressive pincer-like pedipalps, reminiscent of the more formidable scorpions. They use these pedipalps for various functions, including hunting, mating, and self-defense. But here’s the best part: they are completely harmless to us humans. Their diet primarily consists of other small invertebrates such as mites and booklice.

Pseudoscorpions: Are They in Michigan?

As a kid, I took several family vacations to Macinac Island and other locations in both upper and lower peninsula Michigan. Right to the edges of every town, it seemed like the habitat was lush and extremely healthy. As an arachnid hobbyist, my curiosity was naturally piqued.

Pseudoscorpions were common down south, but did these fascinating creatures also occupy the vast forests, fields, and perhaps even the homes in Michigan? I decided there was no better way to answer this question than to investigate for myself, armed with my trusty magnifying glass and endless enthusiasm.

The result? Yes, pseudoscorpions do indeed exist in Michigan! I found several species scattered across various habitats in the state, including leaf litter in forests, soil in fields, and even tiny crevices in old buildings or houses. Finding these mini predators was like uncovering hidden treasure, revealing a complex and often unnoticed ecosystem.

are there pseudoscorpions in michigan?

Unraveling the Species of Pseudoscorpions Found in Michigan

After establishing their presence, the next question was, what types of pseudoscorpions call Michigan home? I have spent countless hours in the field and, over time, have managed to document several pseudoscorpion species. Here is a list of the most common species that I have encountered:

  1. Dinocheirus horricus. This species was first described in Michigan, making it a true native species!
  2. Dactylochelifer copiosus. This species is a typical-looking pseudoscorpion, and also happens to exceptionally widespread. In fact, it’s found throughout the world, asides from the arctic.
  3. Parachelifer monroensis. A very secretive species, the distribution of this arachnid is hard to determine. What we know for sure is that is has been recorded in an area spanning from Michigan to Wisconsin.

It’s important to note that these species represent just a portion of the total pseudoscorpion species worldwide. Although not all of them inhabit Michigan, the state’s diverse habitats make it a fantastic place for many species to thrive.

As we’ve just seen, Dinocheirus horricus was first described in Michigan – but it certainly won’t be the last. There are literally dozens of species of pseudoscorpion yet to be discovered.

So, if you find one and can’t determine what type it is, I suggest you take it to the natural history department of your local college or university.

Pseudoscorpions: Inconspicuous Guardians of Our Homes and Environment

The presence of these tiny creatures in our surroundings is not merely a matter of ecological trivia. They are the inconspicuous guardians of our homes and environment, preying on pests such as booklice and mites. Their existence is an essential part of our local ecosystem, contributing to the biodiversity that makes Michigan so unique.

The world of pseudoscorpions serves as a stark reminder of the intricate web of life that often goes unnoticed beneath our feet or around our homes. These creatures may be small, but they hold an essential place in our ecosystem, silently working to keep the balance in nature.

How can pseudoscorpions be helpful to humans?

Are there pseudoscorpions in Michigan? Final thoughts…

Pseudoscorpions are widespread in Michigan, but rarely seen due to their small size and secretive nature. If you’re an arachnid enthusiast like me, hunting for pseudoscorpions is a great pass-time. A great, but challenging pass-time!

I say because they are wayyy harder to find than larger arachnids. It’s worth it though because of the distinct possibility that the next one you find could be a new species. It sounds far-fetched, but with these obscure creatures it is absolutely true.

So, next time you’re out on a nature walk or exploring your attic, take a moment to inspect your surroundings closely. You might just spot one of these amazing creatures going about their daily lives. These creatures are a wonderful part of our local ecosystem, performing their role to the best of their ability.

If your interest in the natural world parallels mine, especially in the field of arachnids, the pseudoscorpions of Michigan offer an incredible opportunity to delve deeper. Each sighting, each encounter is like discovering a hidden gem in the world of arachnids, a testament to the rich tapestry of life that flourishes in our local environment.

pseudoscorpion in michigan
Pseudoscorpion on a human thumbnail, a good way of demonstrating just how tiny they are!

FAQ relating to pseudoscorpions in Michigan:

What states are pseudoscorpions found?

Pseudoscorpions are distributed throughout the lower 48 states and all Hawaiian islands. For its part, Alaska is said to have seven species of pseudoscorpion. For the most part, they are encountered along the southern Pacific coast, and in the Aleutian Islands.

What kind of bug has long pincers in Michigan?

A variety of bugs have what look like pincers in Michigan. Preying mantids have pincer-like arms, whereas earwigs have pincers at the end of their abdomens. Perhaps the only bugs there with “real” pincers, though, are pseudoscorpions.

What are the scorpion looking bugs in Michigan?

Pseudoscorpions are tiny arachnids that are common in Michigan, and do look somewhat like scorpions at first glance. Two key differences allow to quickly tell them apart, however. First, pseudoscorpions don’t have tails, and second, they are incredibly tiny. It’s also worth noting that Michigan has no native scorpions, so seeing one there is highly unlikely!

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