Two New Species of Pseudoscorpions Discovered in Grand Canyon Cave

Posted on December 12, 2014

Hesperochernes bradybaughi

Two new eyeless species of pseudoscorpions have been discovered in a Grand Canyon cave in northwestern Arizona by researchers from Northern Arizona University. The two new species were found in only one cave, which is just 250 feet (760 meters) long. The researchers say in a research paper that this tiny cave has the greatest diversity of troglomorphic arthropod species on the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

The new pseudoscorpions are named Hesperochernes bradybaughi and Tuberochernes cohni. Hesperochernes bradybaughi is pictured above. The researchers also reported the range expansion of another species, Larca cavicola.

J. Judson Wynne, an professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, tells Livescience that the difference between a scorpion and pseudoscorpion is that a pseudoscorpion does not have a tail with a venomous stinger. However, pseudoscorpions do have venomous stingers in their pinchers.

The pseudoscorpions are very small at .12 inches (3 millimeters). They feed on even smaller invertebrates in the cave. Livescience says there is also an eyeless beetle living in the cave that eats fungus that grows on cricket poop.

A research paper on the new species was published here in the Journal of Arachnology, which is published by the American Arachnological Society.

Photo: J. Judson Wynne, Northern Arizona University