A crack in the wall

I was over at Killerton yesterday and noticed something on the wall near the entrance to the Regional office – from a distance it looked like the plaster had cracked.

 

Harvestman1A vertical crack in the plaster?

Harvestman2

 

Upon closer inspection it becomes apparent that it is a harvestman spider which has spread it legs out in a pattern aimed to camouflage itself

 

Harvestman

 

Looking even more closely you can see that the two forward projections are in fact palps and not legs (8 legs and 2 palps!) and if you look evening closer you can see that the palps are forked.

So…..  you’ve guessed it this is the fork palped harvestman (Dicranopalpus ramous). This is an interesting species – it is a Mediterranean species first recorded in Britain in 1946. It has gradually spread north and can even be found in Scotland. It has this habit of sitting on tree trunks and buildings and placing its legs outsideways and keeping them very flat. It is strongly associated with human habitations and gardens. For more information click here. As well as living at Killerton it is also a Dartmoor resident – keep your eyes open for them.

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