Hitchhiker

 

I’ve been pretty busy with work these last several weeks but on one of my free days I was out walking my dog and saw this little black wasp on a milkweed leaf. I managed to get a few photos of it with my cell phone before it flew away. Judging from its long ovipositor this is a species of ichneumon wasp although at this point I do not know much more than that. When I looked closely at the photo I noticed there was another little animal with the wasp that was clinging to it by tiny pincers (circled in red in the lower photo). It is a type of arachnid a group of arthropods that includes spiders and scorpions. This tiny arachnid is commonly called a pseudoscorpion. Pseudoscorpions are tiny and when they are not hitching rides on insects they are searching leaf litter for prey such as ants and mites. Although pseudoscorpions do not sting they do have poison glands in their pincers which they use to subdue prey. They are harmless to larger animals. My best guess to the identity of this pseudoscorpion is that it is probably in the superfamily Cheliferoidea. Without an actual specimen that I could spend some time examining that is about as far as I can get.

 

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