About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yikes! What's that?

I don’t know much about bugs, but I’m willing to learn. So when I was harvesting some catnip greens from the garden, I was startled by what I’ve always called a “daddy longlegs” on one of the leaves.

I came inside and picked up the book we sell at Wild Birds Unlimited called Spiders of the North Woods. I was surprised to find what I was looking for on page one. The caption below the photo of the bug was “not a spider: harvestman; also know as daddy longlegs.”

Harvestmen are not spiders even though they are eight-legged invertebrate animals and belong to the class of arachnids. The difference between harvestmen and spiders is the harvestmen have two main body sections and are of the order Opiliones rather than the order Araneae. They also have no venom or silk glands. There are over 6,400 known species of harvestmen worldwide.

Many species are omnivorous, eating primarily small insects, plant material, and fungi. Late summer and fall is when harvestmen are most commonly seen, which is most likely how their name was derived.

Huh! Learn something new every day.

Source: Spiders of the North Woods by: Larry Weber

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