Conservation Education and Science
Animal Facts & Photos  
Previous      Next
ORDER: Opiliones
HABITAT: Wooded areas, under rocks or logs, in sheltered areas.

Harvestmen have a globular body. They are unlike spiders, which have two distinct body segments, because a harvestmen’s entire body is one unit. The abdomen is distinctly segmented, and the two eyes are mounted on a large dorsal tubercle on the top surface of the body (carapace). While most species have extremely long spindly legs, there are species with shorter legs. Worldwide there are 37 families of harvestmen. Eighteen (18) species can be found in Texas. Members of only one family, Phalangiidae, are properly referred to as "daddylonglegs."

Life Cycle: Harvestmen are primarily predaceous on insects and other arthropods but sometimes feed on dead insects and plant juices. They have scent glands with ducts on the outside above the bases of the legs (first or second coxae). These glands produce a smelly fluid which may be the reason for the common belief that they are poisonous; however, no scientific literature verifies that claim.

Habitat, Food Source(s), Damage: Harvestmen are considered to be predators and scavengers. They are especially common in wooded areas, under rocks or logs, caves, and similar sheltered areas.

References and Resources: For additional information, contact your local Texas Cooperative Extension agent; Rowland & Reddell 1976; Cokendolpher & Lee 1993; Levi et al. (1990);