A great day was had by all the CAN Harvestmen course at Cedar House, Chester Zoo on September 21st. The event was led by Paul Richards, the Sorby Harvestmen recorder and author of the FSC harvestmen field guide.
Paul led members through the details of this often overlooked and vastly under recorded group, of which there are only 28 species found in Britain. It was to many members surprise that the identification of harvestmen is actually very straight forward, and everyone got at least a photographic glimpse of the entire British fauna, in which new discoveries being made regularly. Paul brought along is recent garden find of Leiobunum sp., with an as yet described taxonomy.
The afternoon session saw members led out in to the wild to scavenge and sweep for specimens, where particular highlights found were the photogenic Dicranopalpus ramosus, with its characteristic resting position, the very long-legged Opilio canestrinii, and the incredibly tiny ‘two spotted harvestmen’ Nemastoma bimaculatum’,
Harvestmen are a fascinating group of arachnids, and can be separated from spiders by virtue of their single bodies, have two eyes (usually raised) and their second pair of legs are considerably longer than the others. September is a great time to be out looking for them too, but they are good to see all year round and all of your records are of course valuable!
CAN would like to thank Paul Richards again for leading us on the event, and for the generous amount of knowledge passed on to our members.