FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

New Key to False Scorpions

Discover the fascinating world of False Scorpions with this new guide from FSC.

The new AIDGAP identification guide to the false scorpions, in the fold-out chart style, will for the first time enable you to identify all 27 British and Irish species of false scorpion, many with just a x20 hand lens. It’s available for £3 (reduced from £3.80) if ordered online at /publications/pubs/illustrated-key-to-the-british-false-scorpions-(pseudoscorpions).aspx by Sunday 29 January.

Most people who see a false scorpion for the first time are fascinated. Although tiny (4mm or less), their body shape is intriguing and can be discerned with the naked eye. 

There are 27 species in Great Britain and Ireland, varying in length from an impressive 4mm in the large tree chernes to just 1.3mm in the book scorpion. Like spiders and true scorpions, they are arachnids, with four pairs of jointed legs and another pair of jointed appendages (pedipalps) each side of the jaws (chelicerae). Relative to the size of the animal, the pedipalps are huge, and give rise to scorpion-like pincers which give rise to their name. This formidable weaponry  is used for defence and the capture of prey, as well as for grooming. 

False scorpions are found in most terrestrial habitats. Some species exploit transient places such as rotting wood, compost heaps and birds nests, while others prefer the relative permanence of soil, leaf litter and grass tussocks. A few live in crevices at the shoreline, coming out to feed as the tide recedes. Others live in houses, feeding on prey such as carpet beetle larvae, booklice and dust mites.

The authors hope that this new guide will encourage more recording of these small but vital animals.

Thursday, January 26, 2017