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A Rare Harvestmen of Malaysia
...a relative of spider family...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opiliones


HARVESTMEN AREN'T SPIDERS

THE NAME "HARVESTMAN"  harvestmen are called harvestmen because they're most conspicuous in  harvest time!

If you look at the body of a Daddy-longlegs with your magnifying glass, you'll see why it's not a spider. First of all, instead of its body consisting of two parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen, as with spiders, there's just one thing. A Daddy Longlegs has its head, thorax, and abdomen all fused together. Second, instead of the spider's usual eight eyes, a Daddy Longlegs just possesses only two.

 

 
This could be a Podoctidae, a family of the harvestman infraorder Grassatores with about 130 described species.

 

Mistaken as an ugly spider when first saw. It turns out to be a HARVESTMAN, a relative of spiders.

and by far is also the most precious Harvestman ever found. It is a rare species probably scientist even unable to identify to the level of which Harvestman family.

At first glance it can easily mistaken as a 6 legs insects with a head locate at which side difficult to tell.

Only after careful observation we know it is a 8 legs Harvestmans with legs functioning differ from those of the common Harvestmans.

The 4th (last) and 3rd pair of legs are used to stand and walk.

The 2nd pair served as an sensor dangling in the air.

The 1st pair is like a pair of magician hand that create illusion.  This pair with long spikes (see photos below) folded in front the head creating an illusion of have a big mouth with long sharp teeth. Big enough to scare off small enemy without a fight.

Like all Harvestmans, this Harvestman has two body-segments, a cephalothorax in front and an abdomen behind. Is rectangle in shape when view from above.

They have eight legs, all attached to the cephalothorax. Very long thin legs . The legs are many times longer than their bodies. This is a  Harvestmen type of spider.

On the front the two long pedipalp looks like two small "mini-legs". These are used to grab prey, and in mating.

No clear images of the fangs of this Harvestman. But from unclear images available it seem this  Harvestman has a huge set of fangs. And the color is darker then the body color.

Nothing is known about the reproduction of this rare Harvestman.

Unknown for sure how long this Harvestman species live, probably only a year. And very probably can make it that long because the Harvestman's cautious behaviors in living in obscure dark places like tree hollows.

This is a slow moving Harvestman and does not move around much.

It does not make web but stay in its dark hole and nearby waiting for prey to pass by.

Poor eye sight. Only one pair of eye is visible in photographs taken on it. It is doubtful it has more then one pair of eyes. If it has, the others eyes are poorly developed.

When disturb, it remain still pretending to be death. It is active only when expose to sunlight especially direct sun ray.

A harvestman has almost fused arrangement of abdomen and cephalothorax that distinguishes these arachnids from spiders.


 
The body length is only 3.5mm (Head 1.5mm Abdomen 2mm)

 

But to scare off enemy, this tinny Harvestman created an illusion of having a 'big mouth full of sharp teeth'  by folding and parking the first pair of spiky leg in front the head.

The following is the close up view of the illusion 'Big mouth part'


 
1st pair of leg

2nd pair of leg
A pair of long pedipalp.

A big mouth full of sharp teeth? No.

This is the position of the 1st pair of leg when the Harvestman is at rest. This 1st pair is 'Folded' and 'Parked' in front the head to protect the mouth part and the padipalp.

But when the Harvestman move, the 1st pair of leg will  be stretched out into the air serving like a pair of padipalp...see photo below

 

 

When the Harvestman move, the 1st pair of leg reach out into the air like functioning as the padipalp, while the real padipalp covering and protecting the mouth and head part.

The pedipalp is unusual long as if another extra pair of leg.

Only 1 pair of eye is visible.


 
The abdomen of this rare Harvestman has 2 pair of spikes.

 

No silk is seen. Unlike common Harvestman who secure a silk when dropping to the ground and return to the tree by climbing the attached silk, this Harvestman drop flat to the ground with no securing silk. From the ground it would craw to the nearest dark corner for a safe hide and unlikely will return to the original spot from where it dropped from.


 
The Harvestman on an index finger tip.

 

Note that only the last 4 legs are used for standing and walking.

The 2nd pair of leg are often used as antenna and sensor.  In this picture one can see one the 2nd pair leg is dangling in the air sensing for direction and surrounding.

While the shorter 1st pair of legs are mistaken as his 'long pedipalp' (see photo).


More about Malaysian spiders  10-7-2009  June 06, 2014 08:51:17 AM

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