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Aggregation of harvestmen

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by GoTerps, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. GoTerps

    GoTerps Arachnoking Old Timer

    I took the following photos this past weekend along Lake Texoma. My finace and I were in the area searching for tarantulas when we decided to hike down to the lake for a swim. After cooling off I started to explore the rock cliffs along the lake and came across a few extremely large aggregations of harvestmen. I've read about such aggregations, but this was the first time I have witnessed one myself. Apparantly, this behavior is a way to conserve moisture.














  2. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer


    i love those guys... omnivorous arachnids... but that's almost too much of a good thing.

    very cool, thanks for sharing
  3. fusion121

    fusion121 Arachnoking Old Timer

    Thats an amazing behaviour that I'd never heard of, great photos.
  4. GoTerps

    GoTerps Arachnoking Old Timer


    It was a pretty amazing site... I couldn't even begin to guess how many there were. Once you got a few feet away it just looked like some type of moss growing off the cliff.
  5. Brando

    Brando Arachnoknight

    Hehe when i go to central Texas to my grandparent's ranch they are all up on the house and everywhere else, they leave bad stains on the rocks but they are pretty amazing creatures. When you poke at them they go running and bouncing around its hilarious to watch.
  6. bistrobob85

    bistrobob85 Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Wow, i've never heard of anything like this!! Perhaps they think they are bats!! What do you think they are doing, mating, heating up, hidding!?!? Very strange behavior...

  7. Malhavoc's

    Malhavoc's Arachnoking Old Timer

    she allready said "Apparantly, this behavior is a way to conserve moisture. " not to be rude :)
    it is indeed very intresting! I wonder if they mate en-mass during such a huddle. and how long it lasts..perhaps they are waiting for a rain? or sufficiant food quantaties..but more likely then not the cooler parts of the day ;)
  8. Wikkids_Wench

    Wikkids_Wench Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Those really are stunning pics :)
  9. GoTerps

    GoTerps Arachnoking Old Timer

    Just wanted to clear up that I'm a "HE"... the "she" in the pictures is my fiance. :)

    Here's a short passage from a wonderful book entitled Millons of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles: how bugs find strength in numbers by Gilbert Waldbauer.

    pg. 97
    Harvestmen form "very large and amazingly dense aggregations that are without doubt a means of retaining moisture transpired by its members."

    pg. 98
    "These harvestmen, about 70,000 of them, were tightly packed into the crotch where the three main branches of a 15-foot-tall candelabra cactus joined. The harvestmen at the periphery of the aggregation lay on their backs, with their long, threadlike legs extending straight up above them. The thousands of legs sticking out from the surface of the aggregation obscured the bodies of the harvestmen and made the aggregation look like a thickly-haired pelt. This "pelt" helped slow the loss of moisture from the surface of the mass of harvestmen by diverting the wind."
  10. G. Carnell

    G. Carnell Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    you should write an article on this for a magasine, im sure they would love something like that, specially with such good pics!
  11. Malhavoc's

    Malhavoc's Arachnoking Old Timer

    wow sorry for the mistake..nice fiance! lol!. I second you should write something about it as I'm not sure if finding these masses is very commen?
  12. JohnxII

    JohnxII Avicoholic Old Timer

    Excellent pictorial documentary! Looks like hairs are growing out of the rocks! Thanks for sharing.
  13. thedreadedone

    thedreadedone Arachnoknight Old Timer

    thats what i was going to say ! {D hairy rocks !!!
  14. Ravienne

    Ravienne Arachnopeon

    *So these harvestmen, about 70,000 of them, were tightly packed into my crotch where AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHHHHOHHOLYCRAPONAPITA oh wait, it's talking about cactus. . . whew. . . nearly had a frekking heart attack there. . .*

    The above is a transcription of my thoughts as I was reading this passage. Seriously. This is what I thought.

    Anyway, those pics are. . . kind of scary. I mean, I know they have itty bitty mouths, but it seems like if you stuck your hand into that mass, you would pull it back out devoid of flesh, a skeletal hand picked clean. Just a thought. There aren't, like, toxic wastes around this area or anything, are there? I mean, 8 Legged Freaks was fiction, but there's always an element of truth. . .
  15. Malhavoc's

    Malhavoc's Arachnoking Old Timer

    If they stick all their legs down into the air to divert the wind..whats holding them in place...?
  16. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Arachnobaron Old Timer

    I don't think they are sticking all of their legs out to divert wind, just the longest ones, the threadlike ones.

    Great pics! Thanks!
  17. shogun804

    shogun804 Arachnogeneral Old Timer

    wow excellent set of pics :clap: , i have never seen that before, that is incerdible.