Well-Nigh Wordless Wenesday: Harvestman

I grew up with daddy long legs (aka, harvestmen) in Colorado.  They were pretty small, but there was something about the way they moved and their spindly little bodies that I found fascinating and completely non-threatening.  I hardly ever see them in Arizona, so the first harvestmen I’d seen in years were the giant ones I saw at BugShot last year:

Harvestman

Harvestman

These things were enormous!  Their size took them straight out of the “cute, non-threatening” realm straight into the “slightly scary, intimidating” category.  Still, I took a lot of photos of them, so apparently I still find harvestmen fascinating, even the massive ones from Missouri.  :)

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16 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wenesday: Harvestman

  1. At home in NZ, our daddy Long legs are very Tall. They are like giraffes. I have always thought of them as the friendliest of spiders, as they tiptoe on their impossibly long legs across the wall. c

  2. Remember that business about them having the ‘most deadly venom’ but ineffectual concerning humans because their fangs couldn’t penetrate skin? I’m pretty sure that was all debunked.

  3. Harvestmen are important to me personally. I ran into one when I was leaving for high school one morning, many years ago. It looked like a spider (of course), but even as unlearned as I was then, I knew there was something off about it. Spiders normally have bodies in two distinct parts, but this creature didn’t seem to have but one body unit. My biology teacher couldn’t ID it from my description, so I spent my library time that day pouring over books until I found out about it.

    Life is so much more diverse than most people realize. Most people are lucky if they can tell the difference between an insect and a spider, but there are so many other groups out there. Scorpions, sun-spiders, whip-scorpions, tailless whip-scorpions (you’ll have to put up a picture of one of those someday so I can talk about my encounter with one!), etc.

    From High School until about ten years ago, we had a lot of harvestmen in my yard, at least intermittently. They seem to gather up on bushes with exposed branches once or twice a year in large numbers, probably for mating swarms, I’d guess. Then they just stopped showing up. I have no idea why but I haven’t seen one in almost a decade. Where have all the harvestmen gone?! I miss my little friends who introduced me to arachnid diversity!

    • I love that harvestmen were your gateway into the arachnids! Fun. There really are some amazing arachnids in the world and you’re right that people know about so few of them. And I don’t have a picture of a tailless whip scorpion! I hope you’ll tell me the story anyway as I bet it’s fabulous. I’ve never seen a live one, so I’m envious that you were able to have an encounter…

      • I’m around five or six years old and we had one of those plastic kiddie pools in the back yard. I decided I wanted to use it, but wanted to move it into the shade first, so I grabbed it and flipped it over…

        Something very much like the following picture was hiding under it:

        I swear it was a foot wide! I remember the way it’s “jaws” extended out to the side and how it had “tentacles” that whipped around all over the place as it charged right at me! I screamed, fell backwards, and tried to scramble away from the monstrous mutant spider thing that I was certain was going to devour me.

        It didn’t eat me, though. I guess little kids were too small to interest it. : – )

        The thing was in my nightmares for years. Frankly, by the time I actually saw a picture of one in a book (which would have been while I was doing my massive arachnid reads following my discovery of harvestmen), even I thought I had probably made the story up, so fickle is memory. Honestly, look at that thing. Does it look like anything that would occur in reality, or something a kid invented because he needed a good monster story?

        • True, amblypygids DO look scary and otherworldly! I can picture that exact thing happening to a little impressionable 6 year old too. Sounds a bit like my palo verde beetle story from childhood or my sister’s much more recent run in with an angry cottonmouth in Mississippi! These things happen – and always just like they do in horror movies, so they really stick with you.

          Thanks for sharing!

    • It’s interesting how similar – and sometimes how different – common names can be in different parts of the world! There’s another insect (a fly, if I’m remembering correctly) that’s called a daddy long leg in some parts of the world, just to add a little confusion to the mix.

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