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What is this arachnid?

Saw this on my front door today, is there an arachnologist you know who can identify it? It was a bigger spider than I typically see around here roughly the size of the largest wolf spiders I see here. To give you an idea the body was as big as my pinky fingernail and if you include the outstretched legs about the size of a silver half dollar.

Hans, Newbury Park, CA - May 6, 2022

Curator Response

Hi Hans,

Thanks for sending us your arachnid. That looks like a black harvestman with some mite parasites. Harvestmen are non-spider arachnids in the order Opiliones. You can often quickly tell a harvestman from a spider by the way the body segments appear fused. In spiders you can see the distinct two segments, but on a harvestman the cephalothorax and the abdomen look like just one connected segment.

I don't know the species pictured in your photo, but it's very similar to this one, so could be in the Protolophus genus.

Stay curious,

Collection Associate Jennifer Maupin, Ph.D.