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  • Eastern Harvestman - (Leiobunum vittatum)

    Eastern Harvestman - (Leiobunum vittatum)

    The Eastern Harvestman is an arachnid, but not a spider. They are harmless and cannot bite humans with such tiny jaws.

    Staff Writer (9/13/2017): Harvestman are not spiders, though they resemble them in many ways. They are relatives of the spider in that they are both from the same Order.

    Every Harvestman does not have fangs, are not venomous and do not bite. Their mandibles are far too small for humans to feel any kind of sensation should they even try.

    Their long legs do more for them than help them travel. The second pair of legs act like antennae and are very sensitive to touch. This second pair of legs also helps a Harvestman capture prey, as well as smell surroundings and even breathe (through holes on their legs called spiracles). If the second pair of legs are lost, the Harvestman will die.

    Harvestman are well camouflaged in their habitat and some species have the ability to spray a pungent scent from a gland between their first pairs of legs. Perhaps the most bewildering form of defense against a predator is self-amputation. A Harvestman will remove one of its own legs (not one from the critical second pair, however) to distract a predator. The removed leg can twitch for up to an hour, allowing the Harvestman time to escape. Sadly, the leg cannot grow back so it is a costly form of self-protection.

    Males actually have a penis that is used to deposit sperm. Females will then deposit fertilized eggs with an ovipositor in deep moss, moist soil or rotten wood. Individual adults will huddle together on cold autumn nights to keep warm.

    They are nocturnal and are usually seen in dark places in a house (corners, cellars, etc.). Adults eat insects, worms and snails and even try to make a meal from any dead prey they encounter.

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    Details of the:
    Eastern Harvestman

    Category: Spider
    Common name: Eastern Harvestman
    Scientific Name: Leiobunum vittatum
    Other Names: Daddy Long Legs

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Chelicerata
         Order: Opiliones
          Family: Leiobunidae
           Genus: Leiobunum
            Species: vittatum

    Size (Adult, Length): 6mm to 8mm (0.24in to 0.31in)

    Identifying Colors: brown; black

    Additional Descriptors: long, thin, legs, round

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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