12 July 2014

Sunbathing on the Shed Wall

I tend to meet more and more creatures, even in places where I wouldn't expect them at all. Do you see these, soaking in the afternoon sun on a warm wooden shed wall? No? Scroll down, the next picture should help.

So, do you see them now?

What are they? Even though often confused with spiders, these are harvestmen (Opiliones), arachnids, usually with very long legs - therefore often called daddy longlegs, which I fing very amusing, but also a very cute name for a creature that many people dread. However, they have no glands to produce venom (spiders do) so they are totally harmless to us and once you look at them in detail, they are also quite interesting. Also, they do not make webs, so most of the time you will find them sitting on rock walls or similar places and once disturbed, they can run away from you pretty quickly. 

The best way to distinguish between a harvestman and a spider is to look at the shape of its body - the simple rule is that if the body is oval with no thin bit in the middle, then it is a harvestman; if it has some thin part in the middle and then the abdomen follows, it is a spider.

So - do you know these? Do you meet them often? And do they have a funny name in your language?


  1. But they haven't got wings!? Here in Northern Ireland and Daddy long legs has wings too. I don't know what we call those harvestmen.

    1. Yes, apparently this is an American daddy long legs and the British one has wings and looks like a cute giant mosquito. one would think that English speaking countries use the same names, but they just like confusing unsuspecting foreigners such as myself :)


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