1. suttkus says

    Harvestmen are fascinating little creatures that are generally overlooked (they’re mostly a bit brown and don’t make webs) and when they aren’t overlooked, they’re mistaken for spiders despite only being distantly related. Spiders and harvestmen are both arachnids, but harvestmen aren’t even as close to spiders as scorpions are. You can generally tell them apart because most spiders have a very clear demarcation between the two major body regions, the abdomen and the cephalothorax. Harvestmen have those two sections very nearly joined completely together, without any clear line of demarcation.

    Harvestmen are mostly detritivores, but will eat anything small enough and slow enough for them to catch. They lack venom glands, but do have a pair of scent glands that they use for defense. They will over cluster into large “collectives” of individuals so that predators will be hit by LOTS of scent gland action at once. In many species, the male builds the nest and, after attracting as many mates as he can to lay eggs in it, stands guard over it while the eggs hatch.

    On a personal note, I was very young when I first spotted one and I realized that it wasn’t actually a spider. My teacher helped me look it up, opening up the world of “unusual” arachnids to me. There are entirely too few moments in life when the world expands before you like that. I’ve been looking for the oft-ignored fauna ever since.

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