Sunday, 17 September 2006

Small wonders

While we're on the subject of invertebrates, my indolent snail-hunting turned up a host of other critters. I rolled a log (a relatively safe activity in rainforests) and uncovered a woodlouse in the process of shedding its skin. So far, it had cast off the front half and was about to slip out of the rest into something more comfortable.

When I looked closely, I noticed something more interesting than a crustacean. (Apologies to any crusty-o-philes reading this.) Lurking among the moss was an opilionid. Also known as harvestmen or daddy-long-legs, these relatives of spiders are abundant but tend to be elusive. Like spiders, they have eight legs but they are distinguished by several features, including a single pair of eyes and a body that is not constricted.

A second look always repays the effort.

No comments: