Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Harvestmen or Otherwise Known As " Daddy Longlegs"

Harvestman, notice how long it's legs are
Harvestman, Notice the fused body regions and the single pair of eyes
Most everybody have seen harvestmen, especially because of their long legs, and think they are spiders.  Harvestmen belong to the same Family of arachnoid as spiders, but belong to a different order Opiliones.  Some of the characteristics that separate them from spiders are fused body regions and a single pair of eyes in the middle of their cephalothorax.  There is a legend that harvestmen is the most venomous animal in the world, however, it's fangs are too short or its mouth is too round and small to bite a human.

There are probably greater than 6500 different species of harvestmen worldwide.  However, because harvestmen are not very scientifically studied there could be even more species out there.

Harvestmen live only one year, reproduce sexually, lay only one clutch of eggs, which may hatch within 20 days after being laid on overwinter and hatch when the weather gets warm.

Harvestman, Chasing another harvestman
Their eating habits vary from eating small insects in all types of plant material and fungi to being a scavenger feeding on dead organisms and other fecal material.

To help protect them from predators, harvestmen have scent gland that emit noxious substances.

Harvestmen can be found with mites on their body, the question is, are the mites, parasitising the harvestmen or are they being carried along till we find another creature to parasite.

Harvestman, With mites

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