Harvestmen…or Daddy Long-legs! Sira, Karnataka, 010215

Most of us shudder at the sight of spiders,but they are really fascinating creatures. Did you know that most spiders are solitary…and cannibalistic? Many female spiders eat the males after mating!

However, there are some spiders which are more sociable. One variety called Social Spiders, spin whole “apartment” complexes, which can cover large areas, like long stretches of this barbed wire fence:

IMG_0733

Or over plants, as you can see here:

IMG_0704

However, there is another group of spiders which are commonly called

Daddy Long-legs (they have long, thin legs!) or Harvestmen

Scientifically their name is Opiliones; but they are also referred to as “shepherd spiders” in reference to how their unusually long legs reminded observers of the ways that some European shepherds used stilts to better observe their wandering flocks from a distance.

They suddenly came to my mind when I looked at what I thought was a dark patch of small twigs on the trunk of a tree…

IMG_0882

IMG_0883

and found that they were actually a tightly-clustered group of Havestmen:

IMG_0884

I took a short video, and you can see them moving on their spindly legs, hardly seeming to touch the bark of the tree!

Here’s my friend documenting the congregation after I showed him the spiders:

IMG_0887

Harvestmen are very old arachnids. Fossils from 410 million years ago, already , prove that the group has lived on land since that time. How wonderful to come across these marvellous creatures!

I hope reading this post may remove some of the fears of arachnids (spiders) that many of us suffer from, and allow us to see them for the fascinating creatures they are.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: