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!