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Harvestman (Leiobunum spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Harvestman

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The tiny body of a Harvestman sits low to the ground, carried by eight tremendously long, thin, and fragile legs.

Updated: 08/29/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Harvestmen are common sights among leaf litter in forests. These harmless creatures are not technically spiders, though they share attributes like eight legs. Harvestmen have tiny mouths and do not bite people. They lack stingers and are relatively slow walkers. The spindly legs are long and bent, with the second pair longer than the other six. This pair is able to sense the environment. They swing these two legs in front of themselves, sweeping back and forth, tapping the surface, and gathering information. Harvestmen can afford to lose a leg or part of one in an effort to distract or abate a predator, but their legs do not grow back. They also break easily with careless handling.

Many times, a Harvestman is seen with tiny red bumps on its oval body. These are mites and they are parasitic to the Harvestman. There are a variety of species of Harvestmen and they are found all over North America. Venture into any wooded area or forest and one is likely to be crossing a trail or hanging out on the leaves of low-growing plants.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Opiliones
        Family: Leiobunidae
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          Genus: Leiobunum
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            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Leiobunum spp.
Other Name(s): Daddy-Long Legs
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 8mm (0.23" to 0.31")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; orange
Descriptors: long; slow; thin; large; daddy long legs

Harvestman Video(s)

A Harvestman using its second set of legs to sense its surroundings.

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 8mm (0.3in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 7mm
Hi: 8mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Harvestman may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Harvestman. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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