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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

06 August, 2010

Harvestman (Phalangium opilio)

Eight legs? Must be a spider although it doesn't seem to look quite like a spider.

These creatures with small bodies and eight legs are commonly known as harvestmen although I have no idea why other than they are most commonly found about now, harvest time.

Although they are not spiders they are related but they are very different in that they have an undivided body, spiders have a thorax and abdomen whereas harvestmen have just one compartment for all their bits!

They are mainly nocturnal but you do see them by day, usually resting. What I find even more incredible is that they feed on other small animals, both living and dead. They may not look much but they are obviously ferocious little creatures. They are venomless and quite harmless to us of course.