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harvestmen

Opiliones ( genus & species= ? )

Description:

These arachnids are known for their exceptionally long walking legs, compared to body size, although there are also short-legged species. The difference between harvestmen and spiders is that in harvestmen the two main body sections (the abdomen with ten segments and cephalothorax, or prosoma and opisthosoma) are broadly joined, so that they appear to be one oval structure; they also have no venom or silk glands. In more advanced species, the first five abdominal segments are often fused into a dorsal shield called the scutum, which is normally fused with the carapace. Sometimes this shield is only present in males. The two most posterior abdominal segments can be reduced or separated in the middle on the surface to form two plates lying next to each other. The second pair of legs are longer than the others and work as antennae. This can be hard to see in short-legged species. The feeding apparatus (stomotheca) differs from other arachnids in that ingestion is not restricted to liquid, but chunks of food can be taken in. The stomotheca is formed by extensions from the pedipalps and the first pair of legs. They have a single pair of eyes in the middle of their heads, oriented sideways. However, there are eyeless species, such as the Brazilian Caecobunus termitarum (Grassatores) from termite nests, Giupponia chagasi (Gonyleptidae) from caves, and all species of Guasiniidae

Habitat:

As of 2006, over 6,400 species of harvestmen have been discovered worldwide, although the real number of extant species may exceed 10,000. The order Opiliones can be divided into four suborders: Cyphophthalmi, Eupnoi, Dyspnoi and Laniatores. Well-preserved fossils have been found in the 400-million-year-old Rhynie cherts of Scotland, which look surprisingly modern, indicating that the basic structure of the harvestmen has not changed much since then. Phylogenetic position is disputed: their closest relatives may be the mites (Acari) or the Novogenuata (the Scorpiones, Pseudoscorpiones and Solifugae). Although they belong to the class of arachnids, harvestmen are not spiders, which are of the order Araneae rather than the order Opiliones. In some places, harvestmen are known by the name "daddy longlegs" or "granddaddy longlegs", but this name is also used for two other unrelated arthropods: the crane fly (Tipulidae) and the cellar spider (Pholcidae).

Notes:

Many species are omnivorous, eating primarily small insects and all kinds of plant material and fungi; some are scavengers, feeding upon dead organisms, bird dung and other fecal material. This broad range is quite unusual in arachnids, which are usually pure predators. Most hunting harvestmen ambush their prey, although active hunting is also found. Because their eyes cannot form images, they use their second pair of legs as antennae to explore their environment. Unlike most other arachnids, harvestmen do not have a sucking stomach or a filtering mechanism. Rather, they ingest small particles of their food, thus making them vulnerable to internal parasites such as gregarines

No species ID suggestions

5 Comments

AlexKonig
AlexKonig 2 years ago

thx people! i was amazed myself, how good the picture were, when i saw them first on the computer with a bigger screen-size

harsuame
harsuame 2 years ago

Wow genial..

Hema Shah
Hema Shah 2 years ago

i agree with goody,great images and info!

AlexKonig
AlexKonig 2 years ago

thanks goody

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 2 years ago

Great images!

Heerlen, Limburg, Netherlands

Lat: 50.88, Long: 5.99

Spotted on Oct 14, 2011
Submitted on Feb 4, 2012

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