False scorpion

Not as pretty as yesterday's ruby-tailed wasp, but nevertheless quite charismatic and probably much rarer. This creature Dendrochernes cyrneus is a giant among false scorpions (also known as pseudoscorpions) reaching the magnificent size of 4mm and giving it the rather clumsy English name of Large Tree-chernes.

In Britain it has a restricted distribution, generally being associated with ancient woodlands, such as Windsor Great Parkand Sherwood Forest. It is associated with dead and over-mature trees where it occurs beneath dry bark and within dry decaying wood. It appears to prefer timber heated by the sun and shuns shaded sides of branches and tree trunks. Oak is the favoured timber, but elm and beech have yielded specimens, and this one came from a site in the fens with both old oaks and some very large elm-trees, themselves a rarity nowadays.

It's a fairly mean predator, and despite its small size, is pretty aggressive, waving its pincers as soon as it feels threatened.

Sign in or get an account to comment.