Harvestman
Liobium vittatum

 


Female Harvestman guarding eggs

Harvestman is also known as Daddy Longlegs. The insects are Opiliones, NOT Arachnids (spiders). Spider bodies have a two-part division; Harvestman does not, but have a globular body. While most species have extremely long spindly legs, there are species with shorter legs. Those Harvestmen known in the Escambia region have long legs, thus the name, Daddy Longlegs. Contrary to popular belief they are not poisonous, and there is no scientific literature to support that belief. The species does have glands that produce a smelly fluid which may be the reason to assume that the creature carries poison. Its staple diet is rotting humus, mushrooms, and near microscopic insects. To repeat, Harvestmen are preditors, to be sure, but they are not spiders and are harmless.

To quote from research information obtained from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, "Opiliones are commonly called shepherd spiders, harvest spiders or harvestmen. 'Opilio' in Latin means 'shepherd' and the name is probably derived from the fact that in earlier times, European shepherds sometimes walked on stilts to observe their flocks better and Opiliones look as if they are on stilts when walking. The term 'harvestman' or 'harvest spiders' was a result of them being seen only during harvesting time. They are also referred to as daddy longlegs, but should not be confused with similarly named spiders, the Pholcidae. Opiliones are not spiders and have no spinning organs, fangs or venom glands and are harmless to man."

 

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