What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider in Anza-Borago Desert
On a recent visit to the Anza-Borago Desert in the late afternoon, many spiders like the one in the attached photo came out of hiding and were crawling around on the ground. The spider had long legs with white dots on them and an orange body with a black area on its back. Sorry the photo is not better. All I had was my little digital camera and these spiders moved fast! Thanks for the help.
Nancy in Minnesota

Hi Nancy,
This is not a spider. It is a Harvestman in the order Opiliones, commonly called Daddy-Long-Legs. It appears your Harvestman is transporting Mites, which use the Harvestman to move from location to location and hopefully, a food source. We are not sure of either the species of Harvestman, or the Mites. We do not want to rule out the possibility that the Harvestman is a female transporting her young. this is a behavior shared by certain other Arachnids, including Wolf Spiders, Scorpions, and Whip Scorpions. We will check with Eric Eaton, but he will probably not respond until Monday.

Update: (04/28/2008)
Yes, those are mites (probably phoretic and not parasitic) on the harvestman.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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