KINGDOM : Animalia PHYLUM : Arthropoda SUBPHYLUM : Chelicerata CLASS : Arachnida ORDER : Scorpiones FAMILY : Hemiscorpiidae GENUS : Liocheles SPECIES : L. Australasiae SYSTEMATICS OF THE THELYPHONIDA
Liocheles australasiae, the Dwarf Wood Scorpion, is a species of scorpions belonging to the family Hemiscorpiidae. This species is often found in the leaf axils of coconut trees and are thus classified as arboreal when their hosts have attained great heights. However, they can also be found on the ground, beneath and in between chinks of rocks, and other debris on the forest floor.
Liocheles australasiae is a parthenogenic species, and as such, require no males for them to produce young.
This scorpion rarely stabs humans, and because it is small, it often cannot penetrate human skin. Therefore, there is not much need to be vigilant. When disturbed, they only make staccato moves sideways, and only when persistently harassed will they make a quick dash for an escape. In extreme duress, they fold their claws and legs inwards and freely fall down to play dead; this behavior can be interpreted as a means to dissuade potential predators from consuming them, as most predators are induced to feeding only on struggling prey. These are very non-defensive scorpions, predisposed neither to pinching nor stinging.
The genus Liocheles is comprised of 10 species of small to medium-sized scorpions distributed widely from Southeast Asia to New Guinea and Queensland in northern Australia. Liocheles is a member of the scorpion family Hemiscorpiidae, which also includes the popular flat rock scorpions from the genus Hadogenes, and are instantly recognizable for their long and slender pedipalps, flattish claws, and slender metasomas.
This array of distinctive features allows scorpions from this family to squeeze into very narrow crevices from which they can ambush prey. As such, their tails are relatively degenerated and thus are very rarely used, especially for defense. Two species from the Philippines are currently known: Liocheles australasiae and Liocheles waigiensis.
Most scorpions fluoresce under UV light. To date, two types of fluorescent compounds have been identified in scorpions, but it has been assumed that other unknown compounds may be responsible for the fluorescence.