Harvestman

Harvestman

One of the most common and conspicuous creatures in the backyards of many homes is a spider that is in the real sense not a real spider. This creature is called the Harvestman, or Daddy-longlegs. It is somewhat related to spiders in the same way as ticks, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, and mites. There are several surprising facts about the harvestman. Firstly, it is actually not a spider. Secondly, it is harmless, and thirdly it has one of the weirdest forms of defense mechanisms. This discourse will highlight some of the interesting things about the harvestman.

Interesting Facts about the Harvestman

To begin with, although the harvestman resembles a spider and it even builds a web like all spiders, it is in the real sense not a spider. This can be clearly established by examining the harvestman under a magnifying glass.
Rather than having a body that is divided into two parts, abdomen and cephalothorax, like other spiders, the harvestman's body consists of only one part.
The harvestman's head, thorax and abdomen are all joined together to form a single body. Secondly, the harvestman does not have eight legs like ordinary spiders; it only has two "real" legs.
The second interesting thing about the harvestman is that it is harmless, and it has no venom. In fact its mouthparts are so small that it is practically impossible for the harvestman to bite effectively.
Another interesting feature with the harvestman is that although it seems to have many legs like other spiders, only two legs are real. Whenever one tries to handle a harvestman, one of its legs may fall off. This is actually a form of adaptation to defend itself because when one of the legs fall of when it is captured, it becomes free to escape.
However, the legs are not entirely useless because they act as vital sensory organs. According to studies that have been conducted on the harvestman by researchers, the second pair of legs on the harvestman act as nose, ears, tongue, and even as supplementary eyes. Within the harvestman's legs, there are numerous nerves and thousands of sensory organs.

picture credits:
© Lennart Tange „Harvestman“
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