Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When Jurassic harvestmen walked the earth.


The raspberry bushes in our garden seem to be a favourite haunt of harvestman, including this one which I think is a male Leiobunum rotundatum. They're often there early in the morning, when they drink dew on the leaves, but later in the day I suspect that they come to drink the juice leaking from damaged fruit.



















Fossils from the Rhynie chert in Scotland show that harvestmen have existed for at least 400 million years, more or less unchanged, and you can download a scientific paper with pictures of an exquisite 165 million year old Jurassic harvestman fossil by clicking here.

Since these animals first evolved there have been five great, catastrophic mass extinction events that wiped our many life forms, including the dinosaurs; amazing, isn't it, that these lanky, fragile animals that will shed legs if you touch them have survived while the dinosaurs didn't............

You can find more information about these intriguing animals by clicking here and some more pictures of harvestmen by clicking here

2 comments:

  1. I have my own collection of them indoors, they are very good at keeping flies to themselves.

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    1. they seem to have taken a liking to our garage door Toffeeapple - every night when I put the car away there are several resting on it....

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