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Meet Harvestman

First off, these fellows aren't actually spiders. And they aren't venomous either although a large one may be able to bite. They also don't produce a web. Members of the class Arachnid, they are of the Opiliones order. They are more closely related to mites and scorpions than spiders. Due to their often large size and long legs, they are often called Daddy Longlegs. More accurately, they are called Harvestmen. There are over 6,000 species of this order across the world and the one we see most often in the Midwest is the Eastern Harvestman.

These can be alarming when you look down and see them on your leg as their legs really are like a spider, but there's no need to shriek or panic if one of these is on you, they don't bite and they aren't interested in eating you. And I repeat, they are not spiders. Spiders inject venom into their prey (or you if you are unlucky enough to squeeze one). When a spider injects venom, it usually paralyzes the prey. Spiders then essentially suck the liquids out of it's prey. Gross, I know but...nature right? A harvestman on the other hand, bites it's food into little pieces and eats the solid pieces. These fellow eat plants and other insects and decomposing bits they find.

Harvestmen have only two eyes and their body does not have the distinct heady and body parts, only one main body part. Their legs are exceptionally long and they use them to investigate the world around them and maneuver through forests. They feed primarily in dusk and at night but are easily spotted throughout the day too. If you see one of these fellow, please don't squish them. They eat lots of pests and won't hurt you. They are just another part of of our lovely forests.

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