03 August 2012

Dicranopalpus ramosus

The harvestman Dicranopalpus ramosus is very easy to identify and its habit of holding its legs in a distinctive fashion (`quarter to three`) is an useful field characteristic. Closer, one can see the `double-palp`. This species was first known from Morocco, but it has since spread throughout western Europe, reaching Britain (Bournmouth) in 1957. It`s certainly frequent in SE Carmarthenshire (and doubtless the Swansea area too). A more recent colonist in Britain is Opilio canestrinii which reached Gloucestershire in 2011.... a large species with an almost orange body and black legs...it will probably turn up in Swansea before here in Carms.!
If you are keen, look for the rare native Sabacon viscayanum subsp. ramblaianum under loose stones in shady `cwms` or other damp situations. It is adult now (as are many harvestmen). The `jizz factor` to look for is an almost chestnut body, with bluish-grey legs and with `boxing-glove` palps. I`ve had it at several localities in Carmarthenshire including under deeply-embeded rocks on the limestone ridge and even on damp slacks at Tywyn Burrows as well as the more typical flushed wooded dingles. It`s specific name refers to a Roman province in NE Spain and I suspect it belongs to that assemblage of organisms that post-glacially colonised Britain and Ireland via the south-west rather than the south-east or, indeed even actually survived to the SW of the ice and tundra.
There is a Linnean Soc. publication in the Synopses of the British Fauna series - c 1990.....I can `t immediately locate my copy amongst my disorganised library! It`s worth having, but do n`t lend it to me or I`ll loose it! The specimen photographed was on my shed wall this afternoon at Pwll, Llanelli.

1 comment:

Norbury said...

Found one of these on my toilet wall today, thanks to your blogpost I now know what it is!