Monday, 5 September 2016

Harvestman, Dicranopalpus ramosus.

This morning I found a tiny Harvestman by the door. It's body was  3 to 4 mm long. Once I looked at it through the camera, I was amazed to see it had what I took to be two large claws. These can be clearly seen in the photos below. After some research I decided this harvestman could only be Dicranopalpus ramosus. 

The large "claws" are called pedipalps. These are believed to be tactile sensory organs. If you look closely at the photos you can see what at first seems to be blurring around the forked part of the pedipapls. This is in fact, a whole set of small, white cilia (hairs) with a feathery tip, each hair having a round tip. To view Scanning electron micrograph photos of, it click the link below. Both links below have been tested and should work.

http://www.psmicrographs.co.uk/bhttp://www.psmicrographs.co.uk/blog/post/Scanning-electron-microscope-images-of-Dicranopalpus-ramosus.aspxlog/post/Scanning-electron-microscope-images-of-Dicranopalpus-ramosus.aspx 

This species has very long legs, the second pair can be up to 5cm long. It has a distinctive resting position, with held at right angles to the body, making it easy to identify. It has spread across Europe from Morocco. First reported in Bournemouth in 1957, it had spread to Scotland by the year 2000.

Looking on the British Spiders site, the last record of it was 2015. Perhaps my find can update this record?

http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal/p/Summary/s/Dicranopalpus+ramosus

The adult season for it runs roughly July to November. There are only small differences between the sexes.

Habitat: Mostly outside on walls and fences, also in garden sheds and occasionally indoors.
Status: Frequent in Britain.
Size: Males upto 4mm, females up to 6mm.

Now for the photographs:

Harvestman, Dicranopalpus ramosus


Note the white cilia round the 
forked part of it's pedipalps



So, a new species to me and I hope to some of you. It would be nice if some of you find it, to notify FEET please.

Gordon.



4 comments:

  1. Nice post , I will keep my eye out for one of them...cheers

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  2. Hi Andy thanks, they do seem to be quite common around here. The only problem being their tiny size, but the resting leg position makes them stand out.

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  3. I am also looking out for green shield bug...another good post from you ..cheers

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  4. Thanks Andy. It was one of those cases where it and I were in the right place at the right time, like so many of the best situations.

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