Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not another spider!

No, not a spider (Order: Araneae), and yet another arachnid. This is a harvestman or daddy long-legs. These creatures have eight legs like spiders do, but their bodies are not divided into thorax and abdomen as spiders' are. Taxonomy, down as far as the suborder:
Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order: Opiliones (Harvestmen)
Suborder: Palpatores
Beyond this I don't know. I did find two on BugGuide.net (here and here) that look like mine, but neither is identified to the species level, and only the second one linked is identified to the suborder level. The common species seems to be Phalangium opilio, but it doesn't look much like this one. At the bottom of this page at What's that bug? is a photo of a gang of harvestmen that are exactly what I think of when I think of the daddy long-legs of the woodpile and other similar locations. Very small, spherical body perched atop those long legs. The one I found today has a more oval body, and more elegant legs. The body is five millimetres long.

This image is turned on its side. The harvestman was sideways, flat on the doorframe when I first saw it.

I annoyed it a little and it left the doorframe and started off across the vinyl siding.

Not the sharpest photo, but the image below gives a better idea of the pattern on this critter's back.

These guys are nocturnal, and after I left this one alone for a while it found itself a hiding place where the siding meets the doorframe to hole up for the rest of the day. I hope that tonight it will go out and hunt down some rose chafers!


Jace Stansbury said...


Excellent spider photos. I find lots of harvestmen up at my place. One day I opened up on old bar-b-q pit that had been stored in an old shed and found a huge mass of them inside. They came pouring out.


Courterikasmom said...

I recently took photos of 2 very different looking daddy long legs on my house. The side of the house at the time was covered in them, some in clusters of 4 - 6 which I've never seen. Upon closer inspection, I noticed their coloring & markings were quite different. Is it a male/female variation or actual different species? I wish I could post photos here... The one was the usual drab brown I've seen my whole life, the other reminded me of the markings on a writing spider. Very colorful and beautiful.