(compiled by Mark Harvey)
Schizomids are small arachnids (up to 1 cm or so) that possess a short “tail” (or flagellum) which in males is developed into a knob-shaped structure that is gripped by the female during mating. Each species has a distinctive flagellum that can be used to distinguish between individual species. Females are best distinguished by the shape of the internal genitalia, which are only observable after dissection and mounting on a microscope slide.
Schizomids are found in most tropical regions of the world. They can be found under rocks, in humid leaf litter and soil, or in caves. They feed on other invertebrates such as insects, which are dismembered utilising their robust chelicerae. Unlike spiders, they lack poison glands in their mouthparts, but they are able to secrete an acidic spray from the tip of their abdomen to discourage predators.
Schizomids in Australasia
Recent research has uncovered a very diverse schizomid fauna in Australia with nearly 50 species. Additional unnamed species are known from several localities. They occur in many rainforests and vine thickets in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, as well as numerous tropical karst regions.
The Asian fauna is less well known with many poorly diagnosed species previously named and many unnamed species represented in museum collections.
The Australian fauna currently includes 46 described species of schizomids in seven genera (Apozomus, Attenuizomus, Bamazomus, Brignolizomus, Draculoides, Julattenius, and Notozomus), all in the family Hubbardiidae (Harvey, 1988, 1992, 2000a, 2000b, 2001, Harvey and Humphreys 1995; see also the listing in the Australian Faunal Directory.
Harvey, M.S. 1988. A new troglobitic schizomid from Cape Range, Western Australia (Chelicerata: Schizomida). Records of the Western Australian Museum 14: 15-20.
Harvey, M.S. 1992. The Schizomida (Chelicerata) of Australia. Invertebrate Taxonomy 6: 77-129.
Harvey, M.S. 2000a. A review of the Australian schizomid genus Notozomus (Hubbardiidae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 46: 161-174.
Harvey, M.S. 2000b. Brignolizomus and Attenuizomus, new schizomid genera from Australia (Schizomida Hubbardiidae). Memorie della Società Entomologica Italiana, Supplement 78: 329-338.
Harvey, M.S. 2001. New cave-dwelling schizomids (Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) from Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 64: 171-185.
Harvey, M.S. and Humphreys, W.F. 1995. Notes on the genus Draculoides Harvey (Schizomida: Hubbardiidae), with the description of a new troglobitic species. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 52: 183-189.