How do harvestmen hunt?

BBC Wildlife contributor Richard Jones answers your wild question. 

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A female Leiobunum rotundum harvestman

A female Leiobunum rotundum harvestman © Arterra / UIG / Getty

 

Harvestmen, though similar to spiders, are in fact more closely related to scorpions (they have only two eyes, their abdomens are not segmented and they lack silk glands).

Like scorpions, harvestmen hunt prey using the pincer claws on the front of the head. These are much shorter than the hand-like front limbs of scorpions, but are still powerful enough to tackle tiny, soft-bodied invertebrates in the herbage.

They are also sit-and-wait predators, using their limbs to feel for passing meals, and there are anecdotal reports that they use their long legs to lower themselves onto unsuspecting prey. Harvestmen also scavenge dead insects and other animals, bird droppings and other decaying organic matter. 

 

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