Among the many things that are bigger, better and simply crazy here than at home are the harvestman. What on earth is a harvestman? Harvestmen are Opiliones, arachnids but not spiders. Usually referred to as “daddy long-legs” they are common everywhere as scavengers and omnivores. Doug Morse related a story to me of watching one trying to steal the prey from a crab spider! They appear to only have one body segment, unlike spiders which obviously have two, but they actually also have two – they are simply joined together across the width of the body.
|Harvestman, 13 Nov 2011|
I have found a number of this spectacular species around the center, mostly around rotting logs, though also in our bird boxes. I assume that like the species in New England, these are primarily nocturnal. One of the largest misconceptions – well, let’s say the largest – is the pervasive rumor that harvestmen are incredibly venomous, but cannot pierce skin. This is entirely, completely, and totally false. They do not possess venom glands and having picked up hundreds, I have never been “bitten” (I would guess it is more like stabbing, actually, if it ever happens), so perhaps the second part of that is true.
|This guy makes our species look like wimps!|
“Spider bites” in general are grossly over reported and one study I read found that everything from small skin infections to flea bites among others were diagnosed – by real doctors – as spider bites. So enjoy your spiders and harvestmen, don’t be afraid (don't pick up black widows, either...). Scorpions, still another arachnid, stay far away from!
|These live in our swallow boxes in Peru. I dropped one on my lap once - |
I may never move that rapidly again in my life.