Chthoniidae Daday, 1888


The Chthoniidae was first recognized as a distinct subfamily of pseudoscorpions by Daday (1888) and treated as a full family by Hansen (1894). The modern definition of the chthoniids—without the inclusion of the Tridenchthoniidae or its synonym Dithidae—can be traced back to Chamberlin (1931). Beier (1932) added the Pseudotyrannochthoniini, which was elevated to family level by Judson (1993c). Apart from the inclusion of many new genera, the only other major change was the removal of Lechytia to a separate family (Harvey, 1992).

Schawaller (1980c) presented a phylogenetic analysis for the Chthonioidea suggesting that the Dithidae (now called the Tridenchthoniidae) and the pseudotyrannochthoniines represented the sister-group to the Chthoniini and Lechytiini.

The family contains 28 genera, which are arranged in three tribes: Chthoniini, Ayyaloniini and Tyrannochthoniini.

Members of the family Chthoniidae are distributed in most regions of the world, and mainly occurs in leaf litter, soil, under rocks and stones, or within caves. Troglobitic chthoniids are also found in most regions of the world.


Chamberlin, J.C. (1962). New and little-known false scorpions, principally from caves, belonging to the families Chthoniidae and Neobisiidae (Arachnida, Chelonethida). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 123: 303-352.

Muchmore, W.B. (1984). Pseudoscorpions from Florida and the Caribbean area. 13. New species of Tyrannochthonius and Paraliochthonius from the Bahamas, with discussion of the genera (Chthoniidae). Florida Entomologist 67: 119-126.

Schawaller, W. (1980c). Fossile Chthoniidae in Dominikanischem Bernstein, mit phylogenetischen Anmerkungen (Stuttgarter Bernsteinsammlung: Arachnida, Pseudoscorpionidea). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde (B) 63: 1-19.Pseudotyrannochthonius sp. from Australia  (Image: M. Harvey)







Chthoniinae Daday, 1888: 133; Balzan, 1892: 545; Hansen, 1894: 232; With, 1906: 64-66; Lessert, 1911: 37; Redikorzev, 1924b: 26; Chamberlin, 1929a: 62-63; Chamberlin, 1931a: 212; Beier, 1932a: 35; Morikawa, 1960: 93. Chthoniidae Daday: Hansen, 1894: 232; Tullgren, 1906a: 205; With, 1906: 64; Kew, 1911a: 55; Lessert, 1911: 37; Chamberlin, 1929a: 56; Chamberlin, 1931a: 211-212; Beier, 1932a: 23; Beier, 1932g: 181-182; Chamberlin, 1935b: 479 (as Chthonidae [sic]); Roewer, 1937: 235-236; Hoff, 1949b: 431; Hoff, 1951: 1; G.O. Evans and Browning, 1954: 7; Petrunkevitch, 1955: 80; Hoff, 1956a: 2; Hoff, 1959a: 7; Morikawa, 1960: 93; Dubinin, 1962: 441; Meinertz, 1962: 40-41; Beier, 1963b: 17-18; Murthy and Ananthakrishnan, 1977: 11; Muchmore, 1982a: 97; Harvey, 1985b: 137; Legg, 1987: 179; Legg and Jones, 1988: 55; Harvey, 1991a: 131; Gärdenfors and Wilander, 1992: 28; Harvey, 1992c: 1399. Cecodithinae Chamberlin and R.V. Chamberlin, 1945: 65 (as Cecodithiinae [sic]) (synonymised by Judson, 2001b: 141).

Pseudoscorpions in this family