|Harvestman (Phalamgium opilio) with a couple of mites on board|
There are small black and yellow ones that live mostly outside in a spiders web, to the huge brown ones that have wings! Note: I'm on about Craneflys here and while these aren't technically a spider they still freak some people (like Mum) out (:-). The ones I am interested in today are ones that live in the corners of the bathroom looking quite spindley, brown quite big, but with little bodies
|A view form above - this one was on the banks|
of the River Swale
So, here are the facts on these creepy creatures:
- Firstly, people usually just say "Harvestman!" when they see one but they are being wildly scientifically inaccurate. There are actually 6,500 species as of 2012...
- ...Yes, in the order 'Opiliones' (Harvestmen) there are 6 and a half thousand species of Harvestmen but that number could exceed 10,000 if we look harder.
|These two were on a shed in Norfolk|
- Some of these include: the Cereatta, the Lacronia, the Koyamia. These are only 3 of 10,000 different types in the world.
- Secondly these are not spiders but they are arachnids. They belong to a group called Opilones and they are different to spiders as they have no silk glands or fangs
- The Harvestman is some countries is also known commonly as a Daddy Longlegs. This is interesting as Daddy Longlegs' in the UK have wings as well as we refer to Craneflys as Daddy Long Legs. I talked more about this in a post I did on spotted Craneflys a while ago.
|This is under my microscope|
- The Female's body length is usually about 5-7mm long with the Males being a measly 3mm. Scarily though, the legs can grow up to 50mm long.!
- They are usually found in the shady side of an old building where some species will gather in groups of up to a huge 400!
- As they don't produce silk they have to hunt in a different way to spiders. They catch insects by using hooks that they have at the end of their legs.
- They can defend themselves even without fangs and venom, they produce a nasty smelling liquid to deter predators. If that doesn't work they can shed a leg to get away from predators.
|Mum wasn't pleased to see this in our toilet in Norfolk|
- probably the longest legs I've seen on a Harvestman
- The Harvestman is common all over the British Isles, including the Channel Islands. It also drifts down into Africa as well.
- The Harvestman is not much of a threat in any way, shape of form. The do not have poison glands, they don't bite and their legs/arms don't 'regenerate'.
Hope you enjoyed,