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Harvestmen Harvesting

9-15-17 daddy longlegs2 049A3934Like their relatives – spiders, mites, ticks and scorpions – Daddy Longlegs, or Harvestmen, have eight legs (the second, longer, pair of legs are used as antennae). Of all the arachnids, spiders resemble Harvestmen most closely.  However, there are distinct differences between the two orders. Unlike spiders, the two main body sections of Harvestmen are nearly joined and appear as one structure. Harvestmen have no spinnerets nor do they possess poison glands. They also do not have the enzymes spiders have that are capable of breaking down the insides of their prey into liquid. Harvestmen ingest small particles, breaking them down with their chelicerae, or mouthparts, which resemble miniature, toothed lobster claws. One would surmise from this photograph that the legs of flies must lack the nutrition worthy of mastication.


5 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Or maybe the Harvestman saves the crunchy fly legs for the last part of it’s meal, wrapped in a snippet of basil 🙈

    September 22, 2017 at 8:41 am

  2. Sue Jukosky

    I never knew this. Fascinating!

    September 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

  3. Sue Wetmore

    Probably all bone and no meat!😄

    September 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm

  4. Kathie Fiveash

    Mary, I have been thinking about the harvestmen, and how they hunt. I always thought they were sort of slow, wandering around on the ground – I thought they were scavengers. Flies are so quick. Do you think a daddy longlegs can actually catch a fly?

    September 23, 2017 at 9:39 am

    • Hi Kathie,
      My understanding is that some species are, indeed, scavengers, while others prey on living organisms. It would be fascinating to watch one catch a fly — must only be the unattentive ones that get caught!

      September 23, 2017 at 7:07 pm

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