» Pseudoscorpions in the Mushrooms #
I was cleaning up some Chanterelle mushrooms (bought from this guy) for dinner tonight when a tiny bug perched on one of the caps caught my attention. On closer inspection, it looked like a tiny scorpion barely a few millimeters long, sans tail. Considering its size, I was amused when it took an aggressive posture and waved its tiny claws at me as if to say "You want a piece of me?" Since we switched over to doing most of our non-meat shopping at the local farmer's market, I'm accustomed to finding insects and arachnids in our produce (sure beats eating poisoned food...), but this one was unlike anything else I'd run into. This picture (generously CC 2.0 by-nc-nd licensed by amanky on Flickr) gives a sense for the appearance and size:
It turns out that there are a whole order of these little arachnids called pseudoscorpions, and they're common in leaf litter (which is where the mushrooms grow), among other places. The thing that I think is oddest is that I spent a good portion of my childhood knocking around the Pacific Northwest backwoods and never noticed one before now.
I tried to keep the little guy (or gal?) around in Kid#1's plastic bug jar, but by the time I was done cooking dinner, it had found its way out through one of the air holes. The mushrooms were delicious at any rate.