There May Be Tiny Scorpion-Looking Critters Living In Your Books
Have you ever been told about an insect or animal that you've never heard of before, only to find out in the same breath, that it may be living in your house right now? Well, that is quite possibly happening as you read this. My friend Leon posted this photo on Facebook the other day, and I immediately got kinda squeamish, and then realized this little thing was living in his house. Right here in Maine. *shivers*
Check it out:
Now granted, it's tiny AF, but it basically looks like a tick that has mini lobster claws. I didn't ever want to know this creature was real. Even in this photo, it looks like it's just waiting there patiently, to send you to meet your maker. Like a speck of evil just waiting to be unleashed.
To be fair, these are actually called book scorpions. Their proper science-y name is a pseudoscorpion. They feed on the even smaller bugs that live in the pages of your books, like book lice or dust mites. Rest assured, they are 100% harmless. Will they give you nightmares? Yes. Can they hurt you? No. But, they also can provide you with a certain amount of totally free pest control. Here's a great description from the Scientific American website:
These tiny, tiny creatures have a fondness for old books, because old books also happen to contain delicious booklice and dust mites. And they’re really not book scorpions…at all because they can’t hurt us, and they’ve basically been performing a free pest control service since humans started stacking excessive numbers of dusty, bound-together piles of paper along our walls and nightstands. This arrangement works because old book-makers used to bind books using a starch-based glue that booklice and dust mites love, so without a healthy population of book scorpions patrolling your collection, those gross parasites are probably having a horrible, silent field-day chewing them all apart.
Here's a clearer photo:
See what I mean? It's like a micro-lobster, ready to do you in! If you go further into the same article, it also gets into the super bizarre reproductive processes of the little buggers. It involves a lot of dancing, posturing, and scent leaving. Bizarre rituals for such small creatures. But hey, is it really any different than most human mating rituals?!
Anyhow, if you do see any of these critters around your books/house, there's absolutely nothing to fear. They are totally harmless. But you will never convince me that if they were any bigger, that they don't mean us any harm. Just like your kitty cat would hunt you down if it was the size of a lion. Sometimes size does matter. Thankfully, in this case, the smaller....the better!