Pseudoscorpion - Illustration by George Maleski

Pseudoscorpion sp.
Albiorix anophthalmus

 

The pseudoscorpion is a ferocious looking creature, although it is only three millimeters (0.12 inches) long. A pseudoscorpion is a miniaturized version of a scorpion. Though lacking the scorpion's formidable tail, the pseudoscorpion is venomous. A. anophthalmus adults develop a gray swath across the upper abdomen which appears more striking in males. The rest of the body varies from light brown to tan. As well as being the largest Albiorix species known, it is also the only known eyeless species.

Habitat: This species of pseudoscorpion is found in the interior of the cave, within a zone of complete darkness, and where temperature and humidity remain constant. The pseudoscorpion is found under small pieces of broken limestone rock scattered throughout the interior of the cave.

Range: A. anophthalmus is found in the Arkenstone Cave, Pima County, Arizona.

Diet: This species of pseudoscorpion is involved in an elaborate food chain. The pseudoscorpion feeds on macroscopic invertebrates which feed on the mold that grows on cricket guano.

Status: Currently, there is no federal or state status identified for this species.

Albiorix anophthalmus in Pima County: It appears A. anophthalmus is a highly endemic species. This species of pseudoscorpion was discovered relatively recently, in the Arkenstone Cave. While there are other caves in the vicinity of the Arkenstone Cave, no other Albiorix have been found in them. Cave environments are usually very stable, with the creatures inhabiting them well adapted to cave life. These environments may also be sensitive to human disturbance, both inside and outside of the cave. Protection of these environments may be necessary to maintain cave dwelling species.

 

References:

1. Muchmore, William B. and Robert B. Pape. 1999. "Description of an Eyeless, Cavernicolous Albiorix (Pseudoscorpionida Ideoroncidae) in Arizona, with Observation on its Biologe and Ecology." Southwestern Naturalist. Vol. 44, No.2. Pp.138-147.


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