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How Book Scorpions Protect Our Beloved Books From Dust Mites And Book Lice

Book scorpions, Pseudoscorpions as these teeny-tiny critters are officially termed, have a penchant for old books because they contain their favorite meal, which are booklice and dust mite.

Black and brown colored mini Book Scorpion on a white tissue paper
Black and brown colored mini Book Scorpion on a white tissue paper

And they're not really book scorpions at all because they can't hurt us and have been essentially serving as a free pest control service ever since humans began piling up excessive numbers of dusty, bound-together piles of paper along with our walls and on our nightstands, a practice known as stacking.

Booklice and dust mites are attracted to starch-based glue, which is why this arrangement works so well. If you don't have a healthy population of book scorpions patrolling your collection, those disgusting parasites are likely to be having a horrible, silent field day chewing them all apart in your absence.

Chelifer cancroides is the most often seen of the over 3,300 species of pseudoscorpion known to science. C. cancroid is a scorpion-like creature that can be found all over the world and grows to be little more than 4 mm in length. Its massive pair of long, pincer-like claws, known as pedipalps, give it the appearance of a scorpion.

Despite the fact that C. cancroid pedipalps are twice as long as its legs, it manages to carry them straight up in front of its head or out alongside it like a lovely warm thin, spiky, and unpleasant embrace.

Brown colored Book Scorpion with yellow strips on a white tissue paper
Brown colored Book Scorpion with yellow strips on a white tissue paper

As a bonus, try to figure out what the breathing organs of book scorpions are named. They're referred to as book lungs. And it's not because they're associated with book scorpions. They are also found in real scorpions and spiders. Because they're constructed of alternate stacks of air pockets and layers of tissue filled with insect blood - hemolymph - that appear just like the twisted pages of an old book, they're referred to as "book lungs."

Black-brown colored mini scorpion with yellow strips on the hand of a man
Black-brown colored mini scorpion with yellow strips on the hand of a man

It is not a real scorpion, despite the fact that it is known as the book scorpion (Chelifer cancroides). It has two claws, similar to a scorpion, but it does not have a stinger. Arachnids such as the book scorpion are really members of the Pseudoscorpion family, which contains more than 2,000 distinct species of scorpion.

The book scorpion's primary home is in bookshelves, but it's unlikely that you've ever seen one because they are so little and seldom venture out into the open. In comparison, the body of a book scorpion measures just 0.8–0.31 inches in length, while the claws measure 0.2–0.3 inches in length. In the case of a male book scorpion, the size of his mating zone is around half an inch in diameter.

When it comes to book scorpions and booklice, the war has been going on for as long as people have been storing their written ideas in libraries and archives. A book scorpion, for example, is mentioned by the English natural philosopher Robert Hooke (1635–1703) in his work Micrographia (1665), which has now been recognized as a species of book scorpion.

Are Book Scorpions Poisonous?

Pseudoscorpions, in contrast to scorpions, do not have a stinger at the end of their flat, oval abdomens. It is not dangerous to have pseudoscorpions around. They are often referred to as "book scorpions" due to the fact that they are occasionally seen in books. In addition to being predacious, pseudoscorpions are also useful.

Conclusion

Book scorpions are not endangered, yet they are becoming scarce in bookcases. This is for numerous reasons. Modern books are manufactured with synthetic glue, so they don't attract booklice as ancient books do. But everything is not lost. Booklice, starch addicts, may be found in your flour bags. The book scorpion lives where the booklice lives.

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