Harvestman

Phalangium opilio

Harvestmen, also called Daddy Longlegs, are not spiders, but they are close relatives.

A Harvestman body grows to 1/4 inch long. Unlike spiders, which have two main body sections, Harvestmen only have one. It does have eight legs like a spider, but its are much longer. The Harvestman also has a little knob on its head with two eyes.

Harvestmen live in fields and forests. They can climb tree trunks or look for food on the ground.

Harvestmen do not have venom glands like spiders, but they do eat insects and other small creatures.

Black Hawk College

Joe Ogrodnick

Female Harvestmen lay eggs in moist soil, often under rocks or logs. They have a small needle-like part, called an ovipositor, that sticks out from their bodies. Females use their ovipositors to inject eggs into the soil.

The eggs survive through Winter and hatch in the Spring, when it is warm enough.

Harvestmen grow very slowly. Only one batch of eggs is laid each year.

Copyright, Hays Cummins, http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/html/

Harvestmen eat a wide variety of foods, including: aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetles, flies, mites, small slugs, snails, earthworms, spiders, other harvestmen, decaying plant and animal matter, bird poop, fungus gills, and many types of other insects, both adult and larval forms.

Predators include birds and many of the same creatures that eat spiders.

Harvetmen release a foul-smelling odor as a defense against predators.

Mark Schmaedick

© Garden Safarie, http://www.gardensafari.net/

Harvestmen only live for one year. They die in the Winter when the weather gets too cold.

These animals are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. Sometimes, they gather in large groups on tree trunks and interlace their legs.

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Giant Willow Aphid

American Toad

American Beech

Snow Flea

Spotted Salamander

Black Oak

Green Stinkbug

Wood Frog

Japanese Honeysuckle

Daring Jumping Spider

American Robin

Mockernut Hickory

Leopard Slug

Red-winged Blackbird

Sassafras

Earthworm

Blue Jay

Pokeweed

American Dog Tick

Brown-headed Cowbird

Red Maple

Blue Bottle Fly

Wild Turkey

Spicebush

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Eastern Bluebird

Tussock Sedge

European Gypsy Moth

Five-lined Skink

Red Clover

Field Cricket

Mallard

Smooth Sumac

Chinese Mantid

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Loblolly Pine

Black Carpenter Ant

Red-backed Salamander

Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose

Bullfrog

Switchgrass

Crane Fly

Virginia Creeper

Goldenrod Gall Fly

Sweetgum

Water Bear

Poison Ivy

Chigger

Willow Oak

Bracken Fern

Common Greenshield

Relationship to Humans:

Harvestmen are very helpful to people since they eat huge amounts of insects and other pests. The story that Harvestmen "have enough venom to kill a person, but their mouths aren't big enough to bite us" is a myth. Harvestmen do not have venom. There is a species of spider in Australia that people also call "Daddy Longlegs" that is venomous, but they do not live here.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Arachnid
ORDER
Opiliones
FAMILY
Phalangiidae
GENUS
Phalangium
SPECIES
Phalangium opilio

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