Mountain Climbing Bug? From Andes..
Location: Andes Mountains
July 22, 2011 6:49 am
Dear Awesome BugMan,
Love the site! I’ve guided trips coast-to-coast, and have seen many cool bugs I couldn’t identify. Thanks!
This bug is from 14,500 feet up in the Andes Mountains, taken in early July.
It has oversized back legs like a grasshopper with large hooks. It is about a 2cm long.
Michael Brown, who runs the Outside Adventure film school, was leading a trip and found it.
Signature: Kaki Flynn
We are finally ready to go live with your posting. Thanks so much for indulging us offline, and first sending a larger resolution image that we requested, and then resending your original written request which got separated from the image. Once we got the higher resolution image, we determined that based on the number of legs and other anatomical features, that this creature is a member of the order Opiliones, a group of Arachnids that are commonly called Harvestmen or Daddy Long Legs. Last year, we received this image of an Opiliones from Chile that somewhat resembles your individual, but that species is found near the beaches, and your specimen is far from the ocean at a very high altitude. We did a web search of Opiliones and snow and we found this Snow Creatures webpage that has a gallery of images of insects found in the snow, and it includes a single photo of an Opiliones on page 3, but it looks nothing like your individual. Continued searching led us to a BioOne website of online journals including one entitled On the Occurrence of Epizoic Cyanobacteria and Liverworts on a Neotropical Harvestman (Arachnida: Opiliones)1. By scrolling to the end of the journal article, there are several images that you can enlarge of Opiliones from Brazil in the genus Neosadocus. Structurally, they look even more like your individual. While we have been unable to locate anything specific on Opiliones found at high altitudes in the Andes, we are confident that we have the order Opiliones correct. For some interesting general information on Harvestmen, you can read the Opliones in the UK and Continental Europe web page. There are so few insects and arachnids that are active in the snow, this was a very exciting posting for us to work on. Again, thanks for indulging us and resending the information and images we requested. We do have a final request. Can you please provide the country where the sighting occurred. We guessed at Peru, but we are not certain.