Harvestman

The harvestman Odiellus spinosus is an arachnid (invertebrate with 8 jointed legs).  Males tend to have a body size of between 6-8mm and females with a range of 7-11mm. Odiellus spinosus is a ground-dwelling species but is capable of climbing trees, bushes, etc, in search of small invertebrates to eat.

 

HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

Odiellus spinosus can be found in the southern parts of the UK and parts of the Midlands and Wales, most of Europe, and parts of Scandinavia. These particular specimens were found in Bristol, their preferred habitat being gardens and around buildings.

 

Opiellus spinosus close-up

DESCRIPTION

Odiellus spinosus has a distinctive black saddle-like pattern along it’s back, but the most recognisable feature is the small set of spines in front of the eyes that are nearly equal in length, referred to as the trident. These are visible in the photo above, just look for the 3 small orange lines between the front pair of legs. It is similar to the harvestman Phalangium opilio but has a neater and darker saddle, an overall darker colouration, and P. opilio lacks the trident shaped spines. 

 

DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION

Harvestmen are not spiders, and are totally harmless. These guys will wander all over your hands if held, and their fangs are to small to break human skin so are incapable of inflicting a bite.

 

OTHER NOTABLE INFORMATION

Another similar species is Lacinius ephippiatus, but the latter is smaller (approximately half the size), has a paler band and lacks the small orange trident.