Taking a break from "Wordless Wednesday" for a week because of this little guy. What is it? And what was he doing hiding in the insect field guide?
See those long pincers on the front of its body? They look just like the pincers on a scorpion, don't they. But this guy isn't a scorpion - it has no stinger. It's a "pseudoscorpion", also known as a "false scorpion" or "book scorpion". It is related to scorpions, mites, ticks and spiders. Pseudoscorpions are very small, measuring less than 5 mm long - like this one that is sitting on a piece of lined notebook paper.
In the wild, pseudoscorpions live under leaf litter and mulch, in moss, under stones, and beneath tree bark. But in the winter they can find their way indoors and into a cozy home on a bookshelf. They don't have a stinger, and won't hurt people. But they are very dangerous to the small insects and mites they hunt in your house.
If you're still snowed in, go on an indoor field trip around your house this week. Windowsills are a great place to check for ladybugs, flies, and moths - most of them will probably be dried out. Check your books, too. You might find a pseudoscorpion waving his tiny pincers!