mc9662's picture

Harvestman (Opiliones Phalangium)

Observed: 12th August 2009 By: mc9662
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Harvestman Opiliones

This one has lost a leg, but carries on regardless.

    Likely ID
    Harvestman (Opiliones Phalangium)
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Martin Harvey's picture


I think you mean Phalangium opilio for the species name, which I wouldn't disagree with, but it would be good to know what distinguishes this from em>Mitopus morio - they look very similar to me, but I don't know them well enough to pick out the distinguishing features.

Harvestmen often shed their legs if attacked or threatened, and seem to be able to cope well with fewer than the full complement of eight. The second pair of legs have sensory functions as well as being used for walking, but even losing one of these (as your specimen has done) doesn't cause them much difficulty (but apparently if they lose both of the second leg pair their behaviour changes and they are much slower to move around).

Entomologist and biological recorder