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Arachnid - Harvestman - brown with black legs
Arachnid - Harvestman - brown with black legs

Harvestmen (Opiliones) are an order in the class Arachnida. There are about 4,000 different species worldwide, some of which are designed like Acarina or compact and mite shaped and others which are long legged. Harvestmen are from 2 to 22 mm in length. In Central Europe, many species are endangered. Cyphopalpatores are the species of Harvestmen which occur in Europe. Some examples of this are: Sironidae, Travuniidae, Nemastomatidae, Trogulidae, Ischyropsalididae, Phalangiidae and Sclerosomatidae.
Arachnid - Harvestman on blossom
Arachnid - Harvestman on blossom
In contrast to spiders the head, chest and abdomen form one unit. Harvestmen have neither spinning glands nor poison glands. Like all arachnids they have 8 legs, which in many species are very long and can reach up to 25 times the actual body length. If the Harvestmen is attacked, it can separate from one leg, this misleads its attacker , encouraging it to continue moving away and later is restored. This leg grows back over the course of time.
Harvestman on a green leafe
Harvestman on a green leafe
The sensors (Pedipalps) which are often counted as a fifth pair of legs due to their shape, have different purposes, reproduction or food intake.
The Harvestmen eat their prey alive. Harvestmen can perceive ultraviolet light, but their eyesight is weak. Some species are covered in colourful ‘spikes’ which are visible under a microscope but the function of these has not yet been explained. In some species the males are darker than the females and are also larger.
Harvestmen live mostly in the bottom layer of humus and feed mainly on small Arthropods. They are found in hardwood forests, gardens, hedgerows, meadows and parks, some species live in dunes, heathland or moors. There, they graze dead plant parts, on which sit Arthropod corrosive. They can be encountered in larger numbers in natural hardwood forests, groves close to wetlands and forests where they break their hundreds in a confined space can be encountered where hundreds can be found in a small area.
Harvestmen are only active at night and their behaviour is not affected by adverse weather conditions. Female harvestmen lay their eggs in small holes or cracks in the ground.

Due to the intensification of agriculture and forestry habitats have been lost and this is a real threat to many species of harvestmen.
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1. Arachnid - Harvestman - brown with black legs
2. Arachnid - Harvestman on blossom
3. Harvestman on a green leafe
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