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Insects and other arthropods

Pseudoscorpions

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Description

These arachnids with their flat, oval bodies resemble tiny scorpions and, like them, have a pair of large pedipalps ending in pincers. However, they lack the stinger at the end of the abdomen, and their bodies are short and rounded at the rear. These insects average 2 to 4 mm in length.

Pseudoscorpions may have two, four or no eyes. Colour varies from yellowish beige to dark brown. The pincers are sometimes black.

Life cycle

Male pseudoscorpions produce a spermatophore, or a capsule containing sperm. Following one of many mating rituals that vary according to the species, females insert the sperm into their genital opening for internal fertilization to occur. They build a nest using plant debris and line it with silk.

The eggs are laid in a small silk sac that remains attached to the female's body. She will produce 2 to 50 young per brood. The young usually moult four times before reaching the adult stage.

Depending on the species, it can take about one, if not several years, for pseudoscorpions to reach maturity. Their life span is from two to five years. In the northern hemisphere, these tiny creatures spend winter in an underground shelter. Some species can produce several generations per year.

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