Venomous New Pseudoscorpion Discovered in Cave

Venomous New Pseudoscorpion Discovered in Cave

Alka Sharma
Alka Sharma
Scribol Staff
Environment, February 10, 2011

PseudoscorpionPhoto: Image courtesy: Dave Steinmann

A new species of pseudoscorpion has been discovered in Glenwood Caverns, Colorado. It is said to be at the top of the cave’s food chain, eating smaller cave creatures. A nearly blind animal, it has remained unnoticed for so long because it has this unique ability to blend in well with the rocks. Discovered by cave biologist Dave Steinmann, the species is said to be 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) in length and is able to curl up immediately when threatened.

PseudoscorpionPhoto: Image courtesy: Dave Steinmann

A pseudoscorpions, also known as a false scorpion, is an arachnid with a pear-shaped body. Though it resembles a true scorpion, it is a little smaller in size. Pseudoscorpions are also equipped with venom in the tips of their claws. This new species was first discovered in 2000 by tour guide Micah Ball.

Dave Steinmann said: “With its primitive eyes and pale color, the arachnid is perfectly suited to its dark, chilly existence and has probably been scurrying through the passages for millions of years.”

David SteinmannPhoto: Image courtesy: Dave Steinmann

The new species of pseudoscorpion has been named “Cryptograegris steinmanni” in honor of bio speleologist (a wetlands and cave biologist) Dave Steinmann, who collected the specimen of this rare find and sent it over to various other scientists for further research.

This is hardly the first time that something so unique has been discovered in the deep caverns of Glenwood, where more than 50 different species have been discovered here since 1950.

Dave Steinmann has spent more than 10 years in these deep dark caves and loves the adventure of turning over the rocks inside dark caves. Over the course of this period, he has discovered hundreds of new species of beetles, millipedes and pseudoscorpions.

dave in cavernsPhoto: Image courtesy: Dave SteinmannDave in Glenwood Caverns

Though as of today, we know very little about this pale-colored, tiny creature, one thing is clear that pseudoscorpions are generally friends of human beings, and let’s hope this one is too. In an interview, Mr. Steinmann said: “It’s fun and an honor to be recognized, I just hope it contributes to people understanding that caves are sensitive.”

Sources: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17195397
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110204-new-species-pseudoscorpion-caves-animals-science/
and press release

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