Subject: South African Spider Identification
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
January 8, 2014 5:56 am
A friend recently snapped a photo of this spider in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Any idea what species this is?
Though it resembles a Spider and it is also classified as an Arachnid along with Spiders, Ticks and Scorpions, this Harvestman belongs to the order Opiliones. Unlike Spiders and Scorpions, Opiliones do not have venom. Biodiversity Explorer indicates they are also called Shepherd Spiders in South Africa, and though there are some images, none of the examples resemble your particular Harvestman. There are several images of similar looking Harvestmen from Australia pictured on the Catalogue of Organisms website, and the Catalogue of Organisms posting for February 5, 2013 has a nice image of an Opiliones from New Zealand that looks very similar to your individual. Determining the species would probably require examination of the specimen by a specialist.
Update: Rhampsinitus species
Christopher Taylor who writes the Catalog of Organisms blog was kind enough to identify this Harvestman to the genus level of Rhampsinitus.
Thanks, Daniel! I know you’re probably quite busy, so your reply is greatly appreciated.