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Order: Opiliones, Harvestmen

Family: Phalangiidae

Platybunus pinetorum ♀
Platybunus pinetorum ♀


Overview species:


Dicranopalpus ramosus

One species from this family is very easily recognizable, it is Dicranopalpus ramosus. This animal usually sits with legs outstretched, all four next to each other. Typical for this species is that it has very long forked palps, not legs but mouth tools. It seems that it has five pairs of legs, but that is not so, all harvestmen have four pairs of legs like the spiders and mites, hence they are classified as Arachnids.
Original this species was to be found in Morocco, but is now spread across Europe. This species is only since 1993 appearing (first sighting) in the Netherlands (Cuppen 1994) but is already an ordinary species, they are adult pretty late in the year, usually from August. Body length females up to 6mm, males up to 4mm. The females have a bump on the back side of the body. In addition, the pedipalps of the female are rounder and more hairy than those of the male.
Individually there is much difference in colour, see the picture of a very dark female.
The colour form with a dark band running over the eyes, is called on the German website Wiki des Spinnen-Forums the colour form "Zorro".

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♀

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂

Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂
Dicranopalpus ramosus ♂, complete animal on the picture

21-02-2012 After dinner I suddenly see a harvestman walking on the table. The way of moving reminds me of a Dicranopalpus ramosus, but it is very very small, the body is about 1 mm long. I can make a few photos of it on one of the brochures which are on the table. When viewing the pictures I see that the forked palps. It is therefore clearly a juvenile Dicranopalpus ramosus. On 12-06-2014 I photograph a small harvestman with clearly forked palps, white back stripe with white spots next to it, further behind the body a white cross stripe. Compared with the animal of 21.02-2012, the same drawing is there as well.

Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile
Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile

Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile
Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile

Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile
Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile

Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile
Dicranopalpus ramosus juvenile

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Lacinius ephippiatus

Lacinius ephippiatus is a medium-sized harvestman with on the back a rectangular saddle drawing, at least with the males. There is a trident for the eyes. The females are up to 4.8mm, males up to 4.3mm. I find the animals in the Wood under pieces loose bark. On some places in the wood I have laid down found bark with the hollow under side to the bottom. On my walks I check them each time and often there appears to be harvestmen sitting under it. I have the strong impression that it is also a favourite place for harvestmen to moult.

Lacinius ephippiatus ♀
Lacinius ephippiatus ♀

Lacinius ephippiatus ♀
Lacinius ephippiatus ♀

Lacinius ephippiatus ♂
Lacinius ephippiatus ♂

Lacinius ephippiatus ♂
Lacinius ephippiatus ♂

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Lophopilio palpinalis

Lophopilio palpinalis becomes up to 4 mm long. First some photos of a still immature animal. Normally this species is adult from August. Typical four teeth on the eye hillock in which the second is slightly longer, from the side it looks like a crown. On the front is a trident with the middle tooth as longest.

Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile
Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile

Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile
Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile

Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile
Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile

Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile
Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile

Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile
Lophopilio palpinalis, juvenile

Lophopilio palpinalis
Lophopilio palpinalis

Lophopilio palpinalis
Lophopilio palpinalis

Lophopilio palpinalis
Lophopilio palpinalis

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Mitopus morio

The females are to over 8.2mm, males up to 5.3mm. It is of the harvestmen the species that has the largest range, all temperate and cold areas of Europe, Asia and North America. The species is long-legged, although the animals from colder areas (the high mountains and the Northern cold areas) have shorter legs. These animals often have a light stripe on the back. In animals from Netherlands and Northern Germany, this light stripe can also occur.

Mitopus morio juvenile
Mitopus morio juvenile

Mitopus morio juvenile
Mitopus morio juvenile

Mitopus morio ♂
Mitopus morio ♂

Mitopus morio ♀
Mitopus morio ♀

Mitopus morio ♂
Mitopus morio ♂

Mitopus morio ♀
Mitopus morio ♀

Mitopus morio ♀
Mitopus morio ♀

06-07-2013. According to a recent internet publication of 4 June 2013 Arthofer et al. 2013 (Epub) it is not as easy as described above. There appear to be at least three, barely indistinguishable, species that occur in Austria. This is demonstrated by a research to a limited number of animals and there need to be done more research to this species before there will be a final publication.

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Odiellus spinosus

Odiellus is a rare harvestmen. It is a species you mostly find in gardens that to a large extent are paved. It loves heat. This species has short legs and a large body only by that he already stands out. Furthermore there are three teeth in front of the eye hillock whose roots seem to come from the eye hillock. So an easy to recognize species. The females are up to 10.5mm, males up to 8.5mm.

Odiellus spinosus
Odiellus spinosus, juvenile

Odiellus spinosus
Odiellus spinosus

Odiellus spinosus
Odiellus spinosus

Odiellus spinosus
Odiellus spinosus

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Oligolophus hanseni

The harvestman Oligolophus hanseni is small and looks a lot alike the Oligolophus tridens. Both animals have in front of the eyes to the edge of the body some teeth. Hanseni has five teeth in a row where the trident has three. Females of this species can be up to 5mm, males are up to 3,5mm. It is a common species that sits often on beech trunks and under pieces death bark.

Oligolophus hanseni, juvenile
Oligolophus hanseni, juvenile

Oligolophus hanseni
Oligolophus hanseni

Oligolophus hanseni
Oligolophus hanseni

Oligolophus hanseni
Oligolophus hanseni

Oligolophus hanseni
Oligolophus hanseni

Oligolophus hanseni
Oligolophus hanseni

Oligolophus hanseni
Oligolophus hanseni

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Oligolophus tridens

The Oligolophus tridens has three tooth in front of the eye hillock the middle one being the longest. The drawing on the back is a not very clear drawn rectangular saddle, that to the back ends in two backward curved half circles. Behind it you often see two dots. It also appears that the body is very light of colour without the saddle visible, so the colour is not a useful attribute in this species. Also other species are variable in colour. The first two photos show well the trident and the back drawing in the female. At the bottom photo of the male is also clearly visible that the middle one of the three teeth is the longest. Both sexes can have a body length of up to 5,2mm. They have short legs, they are small animals and it is a very common species. Under loose bark in the forest and between the grass and weeds you see them a lot, they are also often on the leaves of the stinging nettle.

Oligolophus tridens
Oligolophus tridens

Oligolophus tridens
Oligolophus tridens

Oligolophus tridens
Oligolophus tridens

Oligolophus tridens
Oligolophus tridens

Oligolophus tridens ♂
Oligolophus tridens, ♂

Oligolophus tridens ♂
Oligolophus tridens, ♂

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Opilio canestrinii

This harvestman is observed for the first time in the Netherlands in 1991 (Van der Weele 1993), today it is a common species. Recognizable by the light transverse streaks on the back. The eye hillock is high and has to five teeth, the eyes are white surrounded. The legs are equipped with rows black teeth and are very long. Body length females to 8.1mm, males up to 6.1mm. Adult from July to December.

Opilio canestrinii just moulted, old skin under
Opilio canestrinii just moulted, old skin under

Opilio canestrinii ♂
Opilio canestrinii ♂

Opilio canestrinii ♂
Opilio canestrinii ♂

Opilio canestrinii ♂
Opilio canestrinii ♂

Opilio canestrinii ♀
Opilio canestrinii ♂

Opilio canestrinii ♀
Opilio canestrinii ♀

Opilio canestrinii ♀
Opilio canestrinii ♀

Opilio canestrinii ♀
Opilio canestrinii ♀

Opilio canestrinii ♀
Opilio canestrinii ♀

Opilio canestrinii juvenile
Opilio canestrinii juvenile

Opilio canestrinii juvenile
Opilio canestrinii juvenile

 

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Opilio parietinus

Opilio parietinus, formerly one of the most common species now almost entirely pushed aside and dominated by Opilio canestrinii. The animal looks like Opilio canestrinii but the distinctive white transverse stripes are missing. The females are up to 7.8 mm long, males up to 6.5 mm. The animals are mature from August to late november. This species lives on the walls of buildings and in caves. The pictures are made from one of the last two populations of this species in The Netherlands, in a rail tunnel between Wijlre and Eys in Zuid Limburg. The other population is found in Rotterdam under a viaduct. Both sites are cold and dark and probably Opilio parietinus can resist that better than Opilio canestrinii. (Noordijk, 2014)

Opilio parietinus, juvenile
Opilio parietinus, juvenile

Opilio parietinus, ♀
Opilio parietinus, ♀

Opilio parietinus, ♀
Opilio parietinus, ♀

Opilio parietinus, ♂
Opilio parietinus, ♂

Opilio parietinus, ♂
Opilio parietinus, ♂

Tunnel Eys
Tunnel Eys

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Opilio saxatilis

This harvestman is a South European species of origin and is spread by humans across Europe. The species likes dry warm places. The females are up to 6mm long, males up to 5.2mm. They are mature from July to December. Characteristic of this species is the lighter middle stripe across the back.

Opilio saxatilis
Opilio saxatilis

Opilio saxatilis
Opilio saxatilis

Opilio saxatilis, juvenile
Opilio saxatilis, juvenile

Opilio saxatilis, juvenile
Opilio saxatilis, juvenile

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Paroligolophus agrestis

Small, short legged species. Wide light stripe on the back and a hillock with five teeth in front on the body. Body length females up to 4.5mm, males up to 3.6mm. The animals are mature from July and in mild winters are observed until March.

Paroligolophus agrestis
Paroligolophus agrestis

Paroligolophus agrestis
Paroligolophus agrestis

Paroligolophus agrestis
Paroligolophus agrestis

Paroligolophus agrestis
Paroligolophus agrestis

 

Paroligolophus agrestis
Paroligolophus agrestis, newly moulded adult

Paroligolophus agrestis juvenile
Paroligolophus agrestis
juvenile 13-05-2013

Paroligolophus agrestis
Paroligolophus agrestis juv

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Phalangium opilio

Large long-legged harvestman with a characteristic white underside. Body length females to 7mm, males up to 6mm. On the back a clear saddle drawing. The males have a very long thorn on the chelicera, this is very noticeable and makes the males easily recognizable. The females can possibly be confused with those of Mitopus morio, but are clearly identified by the two teeth above the chelicera, the two white dots on the photo that you see if you look coming forward from the eye hillock on the edge of the white plane you then encounter. This is a species of heat, and you can find it on open places, even in the sun. In dark forests you will not find it.

Phalangium opilio ♂
Phalangium opilio ♂

Phalangium opilio ♂
Phalangium opilio ♂

Phalangium opilio ♀
Phalangium opilio ♀

Phalangium opilio ♀
Phalangium opilio ♀

Phalangium opilio ♀
Phalangium opilio ♀

Phalangium opilio juvenile
Phalangium opilio juvenile

Phalangium opilio juvenile
Phalangium opilio juvenile

Phalangium opilio juvenile
Phalangium opilio juvenile

There is a snag in the determination of the Phalangium, if you think that this species will be already long mature and you see a small harvestman with a reasonable smooth eye hillock you easily make a M. morio of it. The two teeth above the palps are also still often not present in young animals. That happened to me with the animal of the two pictures below. The picture was taken in January 2012 and then if you find a small harvestman you do think about the small species. But from Phalangium opilio you can find the year around young and semi adults. This animal was sitting on a pole along a grass field in Kampen. On such an open place you need first to think whether it can be a Phalangium.

Phalangium opilio juvenile
Phalangium opilio juvenile 1,3 mm

Phalangium opilio juvenile
Phalangium opilio juvenile

Phalangium opilio fighting males
Phalangium opilio fighting males

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Platybunus pinetorum

This is in the Netherlands still a very rare harvestman and it seems to be strong expanding. Until 2010, it was known of some places in Central Netherlands. In 2011, this is extended with Zuid Limburg, environment Apeldoorn, environment Ommen and boswachterij Odoorn province of Drenthe.
The species Platybunus pinetorum overwinters as a juvenile, as well as Rilaena triangularis. From the end of March until the end of June are the animals mature. Body length females to 8mm, males up to 5.6mm. These animals can be found on the cooler places, especially dense forest. In most instances I do find the animals on the trunks of deciduous trees, beech, birch, Oak but also on conifers. Tribes of conifers have a rough bark and it is harder to see the animals, they certainly are there. Platybunus has a very broad eye hillock, which between the eyes is pressed in a little, in Rilaena it is pressed in deeper and the hillock is narrower. See also the photos at the bottom where both species stand side by side. Striking is the strong drawing of the females and the very dark colour of the men. Both sexes have huge teeth on the pedipalps, this is visible already in the juveniles.
On the old locations are often only females, men are an exception. In Odoorn I do find both males and females, slightly more females. The assumption is that the animals have an infection with a bacteria (Wolbachia or Cardinium) that prevents that males are born and the females reproduce parthenogenetic. An English article about this you can download here. (Martin, 2009) pdf. According to Hay Wijnhoven this phenomenon also occur in the Dutch harvestman Trogulus tricarinatus. The future must show whether the population in Odoorn also will have increasingly females and less males.

Platybunus pinetorum ♀
Platybunus pinetorum ♀

Platybunus pinetorum ♂
Platybunus pinetorum ♂

Platybunus pinetorum ♀
Platybunus pinetorum ♀

Platybunus pinetorum ♂
Platybunus pinetorum ♂

Platybunus pinetorum ♂, eats a small Caterpillar
Platybunus pinetorum ♂, eats a small Caterpillar

Platybunus pinetorum ♀
Platybunus pinetorum ♀

Platybunus pinetorum ♂
Platybunus pinetorum ♂

The first juveniles you see in July. The eye hillock is in relation to the body very big almost as wide as the body and it has now allready the orange color that is so characteristic for the species as well as the broad smooth curve between the eyes.

Platybunus pinetorum juvenile
Platybunus pinetorum juvenile

Platybunus pinetorum juvenile
Platybunus pinetorum juvenile

Platybunus pinetorum juvenile
Platybunus pinetorum juvenile

After a molt is the eye hillock in proportion to the body not as great, but still larger than at the adult animals. Sometimes a young harvestman even sit if a springtail runs over it. Such a springtail is about 3mm long, so you can see how small the harvestman is.

springtail and Platybunus pinetorum juvenile
springtail and Platybunus pinetorum juvenile

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Rilaena triangularis

In the English literature for Rilaena triangularis (Herbst, 1799)
the name Platybunus triangularis Simon, 1879 is used.

As well as Platybunus overwinters Rilaena as juveniles. It is adult from April until the end of July. Body length females to 7mm, males up to 4.5mm. The males are light tan, the females slightly darker brown with a distinct saddle drawing that is missing in the male. The eye hillock is an important determination attribute, a high, serrated deep incised increase.
On the first picture a still very small triangularis from early september. Clearly the proportionately large eye hillock that is very dark in comparison with the previous species.

Rilaena triangularis juvenile
Rilaena triangularis juv

Rilaena triangularis juvenile
Rilaena triangularis juv

Rilaena triangularis
Rilaena triangularis

Rilaena triangularis
Rilaena triangularis

Rilaena triangularis
Rilaena triangularis

Rilaena triangularis
Rilaena triangularis

Rilaena triangularis
Rilaena triangularis

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For comparison: Rilaena triangularis and Platybunus pinetorum

Rilaena triangularis
Rilaena triangularis

Platybunus pinetorum ♀
Platybunus pinetorum ♀

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literature: