Pseudoscorpions Discovered Riding Myrmecophile Scorpions

 Pseudoscorpions Discovered Riding Myrmecophile Scorpions

The first recorded case of pseudoscorpions residing on a scorpion host.

News Published 2024.03.01 |  Claire Kim 

Source: S. Aharon

In April of 2023, Yoram Zvik, a Ph.D. student at the University of Haifa, discovered seven Birulatus israelensis scorpions, each with multiple pseudoscorpions attached to their backs. This observation is the first recorded case of pseudoscorpions residing on a scorpion host.

Source: Moyer

Zvik’s investigation of the B. israelensis scorpions first began in 2016, when he found scorpions walking along the trail of Messor harvester ants, suspecting that the scorpions lived within the ant colony. The B. israelensis scorpions are the only known myrmecophiles with symbiotic relationships with ant colonies. Subsequent research on the scorpions highlighted their preference for ant larvae as their food, implying the exploitation of their relationship with the ants. However, the advantages of ants from these arrangements are unclear at the moment, even through multiple documentation of similar situations in myrmecophilous organisms. 

Source: S. Warburg

The relationship between the scorpions and the pseudoscorpions came to light in 2018 when a specimen of the B. israelensis scorpion was found with two pseudoscorpions suspended on its back. To better examine the relationship between the scorpion and the pseudoscorpion, a team of researchers consisting of Yoram Zvik, his advisor Efrat Gavish-Regev, and Sharon Warburg, a pseudoscorpion expert at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was formed. The team identified the pseudoscorpion as Nannowithius wahrmani, arachnids resembling ticks and hitch rides on larger animals such as beetles, bats, and birds. 

Source: Y. Zvik

This may be the case for the scorpions, as the pseudoscorpions utilize the scorpions as a means of transportation to spread across ant colonies. The team suspects that this may allow the pseudoscorpions to access the nest, where they prey on mites and other small organisms.

#Pseudoscorpion #Scorpion #Myrmecophiles #SymbioticRelationships #First Discovery

Claire Kim (

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