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Harvestman Photo

 

We found this opilionid, commonly called a harvestman or daddy longlegs, while we were in Monterrico, Guatemala.  These animals are arachnids and are distantly related to true spiders and scorpions.  A common myth is that harvestmen have incredibly toxic venom, but that isn’t the case!  These animals do not have venom glands.  We found this one hiding under fallen bark in the woods!

 

UPDATE 1/14/2013: Chris Buddle, a scientist from McGill University (@CMBuddle on Twitter) has started a fun, interactive project to learn more about these animals. Follow it with the #OpilionesProject and to learn more about it check out his post here. This should be fun!

 

Also, we’ve had some great comments on this post about people using the common name “daddy longlegs” for true spiders as well as Opiliones and we got a clarification on the family the harvestman in the photo might belong in.  Be sure to read them!

 

Join the discussion

  1. Dave Stone, ACE

    our north american dl’s aren’t as cool looking as this one. here in minnesota, many confuse daddy longlegs with the cellar spider, a web-spinning killer that does an interesting thing (imo) when disturbed: they gyrate. it’s common to see them do it hanging in their webs, but i’ve also seen them do it flat-footed on a solid surface, like a fast hula-dance. just seeding you with an idea for a vid for you to produce if you ever get bored. keep up the good work!

  2. Ted C. MacRae

    I’ve seen true harvestmen also doing the “hula” when disturbed. Must be an arachnid thing!

    The one in the photo looks very similar to a species I photographed last April in northern Argentina – they belonged to the family Cosmetidae and were covered with mites (ironically, also arachnids!).

  3. thebugchicks

    When I lived in the Eastern Sierra, people used the term ‘daddy longlegs’ when referring to pholcid (cellar) spiders. That hula behavior is cool and would make a GREAT addition to one of our videos! We will keep it in mind. We’re thinking of making a harvestmen video soon, as we have some here in Oregon that can be found on snow banks. Just wondering, why do you call cellar spiders ‘killers’? –Kristie

  4. thebugchicks

    Whoa, your photos are awesome. Very cool to be able to learn about the family–thanks! We’re going to devote a lot of time to photographing and filming the next harvestman we see.

  5. Steve Schwartzman

    I wish you well. Let’s hope the Bug Chicks make as much money as the Dixie Chicks (or maybe twice that amount, because both of the words in your title are animal names).

    As you know, most people think a daddy longlegs is a spider, but eight legs do not a spider make.

  6. thebugchicks

    Thanks Steve! At this point, making enough money to live and do the work we love is our goal– but it’s good to dream big 🙂

    There are so many cool arachnids with 8 legs. Ooh, new post idea!

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