Saturday, July 2, 2016

Red Harvestman

Hanging out in the shade  -  REK
There are lots of these harvestmen along a small stream entering Bull Creek.  They are all clinging to leaves, many still moist from this morning's rain.  They posed for pictures as long as I didn't get too close.

A closer look - note the two small black eyes above the pedipalps - REK
This is Hadrobunus grandis, a species that ranges from Maryland to Oklahoma.  Adults are a darker brown and will be seen commonly hunting along the leaf duff on the ground.  The central marking on the back is sometimes absent and they have no dorsal spines like the similar H. maculosus.  The specimens I saw today were sub-adults, still an orange-red color that was muted by the overcast sky and the shaded woods.

Hadrobunus grandis from Wikipedia
Visitors frequently freak out at the sight of a harvestman crawling nearby on our deck.  A widespread myth that they are "the most poisonous spider in the world" is wrong on all accounts.
  • No spider is "poisonous."  That would mean that you would get sick if you ate one.  Spiders do have venom which they inject into prey through hollow fangs and are therefore venomous.
  • Harvestmen (Opiliones) are not spiders.  The most distinguishing characteristic is their unified body, without the separation of the cephalothorax (head and chest combined) from the abdomen like spiders.
  •  Harvestmen have neither hollow fangs or venom.  Their fangs are used to hold their prey.

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