logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel
Southwest USA
Irish Culture


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Animal Life Site

BellaOnline's Animal Life Editor

g

The Evolution of Daddy Longlegs


 photo harvestmenlonglegs_zpsaa521511.jpgA rare fossil find in eastern France allows researchers to trace the heritage of harvestmen (Hastocularis argus), most frequently known as "daddy longlegs," back 305 million years. The fossil revealed that at one point harvestmen had two sets of active eyes. One set close to the center of the head, and another on the sides of the head. Modern day harvestmen only have one set of eyes, which kept an ongoing debate about whether this arachnid's origins were that of a spider.

The fossil presents evidence that while ancient harvestmen shared lineage, they were not spiders. University of Manchester paleontologist Russell Garwood concluded, "Although they have eight legs, harvestmen are not spiders. They are more closely related to another arachnid, the scorpion." To provide further evidence towards this evolutionary discovery, scientists set out to discover if any genetic remnants remained for the 'lost' pair of eyes. Indeed, there remains dormant genetic coding for an additional set of eyes in the modern harvestmen.

The number of eyes is not the only physical feature that separates harvestmen from spiders, but it was the last lingering question. At a quick glance, the harvestmen superficially shares similarities to the cellar spider (Pholcus phalangioides),  photo cellarspiderlonglegs_zps96b129c8.jpgwhich is also referred to as "daddy longlegs." They look similar to the casual observer because they both have eight exceptionally long legs. However, harvestmen do not have the ability to produce silk for web making, unlike the cellar spider. Other differences, upon closer inspection, reveal that harvestmen have one body structure and two eyes. However, cellar spiders have the traditional spider characteristics of two body parts, or tagma, and eight eyes.

Harvestmen live for about a year and die off in cold weather, and the cellar spider can live about 3 years. Despite urban myths about their nefarious nature, both the harvestmen and the cellar spider are non-biting and non-poisonous. In truth, harvestmen are a great value to gardeners, as they control unwanted insect, slug, and mite populations. The cellar spider builds its web in ceiling corners to trap common indoor nuisances like other spiders, moths, gnats, flies, and mosquitoes, which should be enough of a benefit for even the worst arachnophobe to find some semblance of tolerance.

This is Deb Duxbury, for Animal Life, reminding you to please spay or neuter your pet.
Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Twitter Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Facebook Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to MySpace Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Del.icio.us Digg The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Yahoo My Web Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Google Bookmarks Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Stumbleupon Add The+Evolution+of+Daddy+Longlegs to Reddit



 



The Flamboyant Courtship of the Peacock Spider
Meet the Furry Caterpillar
Are You Scared of Arachnids? Meet the Lifesaver!
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map




For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Animal Life Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Deb Duxbury. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deb Duxbury. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Deb Duxbury for details.

g


g features
Animals Help Relieve Depression

Moth Eyes Help Create Efficient Solar Cells

Tiny Menace of Australia, Sydney Funnel Web Spider

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor