Interested in helping a biologist?

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Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby czs0021 » Apr 22, 2014 2:04 pm

Hey folks,

If anyone is interested in coming with me while I'm hunting for cave pseudoscorpions or knows of someone interested in cave biology, I could use the help. I'll be going this May 2014 through December 2015, and caving in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. I'll let you know a few weeks ahead of time when I'll be in your area to see if you're available. Please send me a PM or email.

Thanks!

Charles
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby Scott Shaw » Apr 23, 2014 7:41 am

Sent you a PM.
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 23, 2014 3:27 pm

I don't think I have ever seen a cave pseudoscorpion in any of the 100+ caves I have been to. But I have seen in the caves I have been to: snakes, birds, dead opossum, dead rabbit, bats of course, crickets, spiders, crayfish, salamanders, snails, toads, frogs, cave fish, slugs, pill bugs/roly poles, caterpillars, moths, and the bones of dead cows. So Charles in how many caves have you found pseudoscorpions so far?
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby czs0021 » Apr 27, 2014 2:35 pm

I have seen pseudoscorpions in about 70% of the (30ish?) caves I've been in. You have to be looking for them - they're tiny. I'd wager they were to be found around the dead mammals you've noted - eating the things that are decomposing the corpse. Usually they are found around organic debris of some kind, whether that be washed in leaf litter, wood, bones, scat, packrat nests, or dead animals. Hesperochernes cf. mirabilis ("cf" because I don't believe they're all H. mirabilis - this is something I'm working on) is fairly common in Appalachian caves. I've been going through all of the 8500+ records in the specimen catalog of the last great pseudoscorpion biologist, William B. Muchmore; many of his records are from the SE USA and TAG caves in particular.
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby gindling » Apr 27, 2014 2:42 pm

I was digging in a sinkhole on Center Hill near Smithville , TN and felt a sting that was like a wasp and when I pulled my hand away and looked there was this tiny little scorpion looking up at me. Would that be a pseudoscorpion? I always wondered because I had never seen a scorpion in TAG before. Good luck with your hunt!
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 27, 2014 3:26 pm

I doubt that there would be pseudoscorpions around most of the dead animals that I have seen. Most of the dead animals that I have seen were at the bottom of a vertical drop so I don't know how a pseudoscorpion would either be able to survive falling the drop or be able to climb so far down. And in some caves my specific purpose has been to look for wildlife but I still didn't see any pseudoscorpions so I wouldn't exactly say that I have never been looking for them. I would be interested in coming along with you, for say a weekend, when you are a little closer to where I live so like West Virginia. And so how far north in West Virginia do you plan on traveling?
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby GroundquestMSA » Apr 27, 2014 6:18 pm

Greg Jones wrote: I don't know how a pseudoscorpion would either be able to survive falling the drop or be able to climb so far down.


:laughing:
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby tncaver » Apr 27, 2014 6:57 pm

gindling wrote:I was digging in a sinkhole on Center Hill near Smithville , TN and felt a sting that was like a wasp and when I pulled my hand away and looked there was this tiny little scorpion looking up at me. Would that be a pseudoscorpion? I always wondered because I had never seen a scorpion in TAG before. Good luck with your hunt!


How did that sinkhole dig go?
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby gindling » Apr 27, 2014 10:28 pm

I graduated from the Craft Center in 2003 before I finished it. The few shovels I welded together in blacksmithing class are still down there as of 2012. From the sound of the rocks I threw in there is a pool of water at the bottom which fluctuates with the level of Center Hill Reservoir. Maybe 30-40'?
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby czs0021 » Apr 27, 2014 10:38 pm

I was digging in a sinkhole on Center Hill near Smithville , TN and felt a sting that was like a wasp and when I pulled my hand away and looked there was this tiny little scorpion looking up at me. Would that be a pseudoscorpion? I always wondered because I had never seen a scorpion in TAG before. Good luck with your hunt!


Nope, of those pseudoscorpions that do have venom, the quantity is so small and even so I doubt the toxins would even be capable of affecting small mammals, nevermind a human. If your critter had a tail, it was a true scorpion. Pseudoscorpions do not have tails (aka telsons) with stingers; those that do have venom deliver it through their large front claws. There is a common scorpion (Vaejovis carolinianus) that occurs in leaf litter and dry rot wood through central and northern Alabama. Maybe this is what you saw. They may sting but I haven't heard of them being dangerous.
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby czs0021 » Apr 27, 2014 10:49 pm

Greg Jones wrote:I doubt that there would be pseudoscorpions around most of the dead animals that I have seen. Most of the dead animals that I have seen were at the bottom of a vertical drop so I don't know how a pseudoscorpion would either be able to survive falling the drop or be able to climb so far down. And in some caves my specific purpose has been to look for wildlife but I still didn't see any pseudoscorpions so I wouldn't exactly say that I have never been looking for them. I would be interested in coming along with you, for say a weekend, when you are a little closer to where I live so like West Virginia. And so how far north in West Virginia do you plan on traveling?


Drop an ant into a 300 ft hole and it will be just fine; drop an elephant and it will be mush. Tiny animals like pseudoscorpions wouldn't be affected. They've even been collected in "aerial plankton" being blown around the world at high altitudes along with spiders and insects. In caves they've been found miles into big systems like Mammoth Cave in KY. The thing to remember is that these animals were on Earth before the Appalachians formed, nevermind the cave systems. They've had plenty of time to wander far into caves.

They may have been in loose soil under the dead mammals you saw. I have 30+ in one cave in NE Alabama around dry bones and have seen several records of collections on mammalian corpses in caves.

In WV I'll be in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocohontas county. Maybe others as I find more past collection records. Send me a PM with the best way to contact you and I'll let you know at least a week or two in advance of when I'll be in your area. Thanks for the offer!
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 27, 2014 11:36 pm

I doubt that there were pseudoscorpions around the cow bones since in the caves I saw them in, I assume the skulls and bones had been sitting there for years. The opossum must have just dropped down this 100 foot entrance drop because everything looked in good condition even its eyes. The rabbit was probably the most likely candidate to have possibly been eaten by pseudoscorpions. There wasn't much left of the rabbit. The entrance drop was only 10 feet deep so to reach the rabbit would be easier for a pseudoscorpion. So I might be able to make it down to Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and/or Monroe County, West Virginia. I usually do most of my caving in Pendleton County, West Virginia although I have done caving in all 3 of the counties that you mentioned. Pendleton County is where the soon to be longest cave in West Virginia is after Hellhole (40 miles of passage) and Memorial Day Cave (24 miles of passage) are connected which are very close to being connected. This cave system is also where the deepest drop in West Virginia is at 535 feet deep.
Last edited by Caving Guru on May 10, 2014 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Interested in helping a biologist?

Postby arizonaowl » Sep 15, 2014 5:12 pm

I have seen a lot of critters in caves, but never a scorpion, let alone a pseudo scorpion. But, good hunting all, that keep the caving law! Al Copley 20845
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