Another spider. Or is it?

I came across this in my kitchen sink. A spider I thought, but then I looked more closely and noticed that it only had six legs. So some other kind of insect then. However, when I looked more closely I realized that it was supposed to have eight legs, but had apparently lost two of them. OK so it was a spider after all. I was wrong again. It is an arachnid, but not a spider. So what is it? It turns out that it’s something called a Harvestman and it’s more closely related to ticks, mites and scorpions than it is to spiders. How can you tell the difference? Well, spider bodies have two segments: a combined head/thorax and an abdomen. Harvestmen have a single body. Spiders also usually have eight eyes where Harvestmen only have two. Scientists have identified over 6,000 species of Harvestmen and estimate that there are probably over 10,000. They’ve also been around for a very long time: specimens have been found encased in amber that is over four hundred million years old, so I suppose they’re doing something right. This one had a leg-span (if such a word exists) of over three inches, but the body was only about 1/8 inch. Some people call them ‘daddy longlegs’, but that’s confusing as at least three different species are often called ‘daddy longlegs’: Harvestmen, Crane Flies (which are winged insects), and Cellar Spiders (true spiders).

Taken with a Sony A77II and Minolta 50mm f2.8 Macro lens

A sad day

Sadly I lost my dog, Harley today. He was about 13 years old and we’d had him for nine of those years. He’d had had a good run. I’d known for some time that his heart was failing, but thankfully he’d managed to lead a normal life: eating well, going for walks etc. right up the evening before last. I’ll miss him. Here’s a picture taken just after we got him.

Taken with a Sony RX100 M1