Mitopus morio

Mitopus morio does not have a common name in Britain. In Northern America however it is referred to as the Shortlegged Harvestman. It is a very variable species. Usually it is more contrasting in colours and markings than the other harvestmen. It has two beautiful bands just behind the eyes running over the back from side to side. The back itself is dark or light brown with a contrasting indented lighter (often white) line running along over the sides. Animals from the Alps have an additional white dorsal line. Like in most other harvestman the females are bigger than the males. In the case of Mitopus morio though, the differences are substantial: the body of the male may be 4 to 5mm, those of the female may be anything from 6 to 8mm!

Mitopus morio is seen on walls less frequently than the species we dealt with previously. It mainly lives in heath and places with high growing grasses and herbs. It is however found in gardens and woodlands as well. It is a hunter that will not eat veggies until it is forced to. It even hunts for prey much bigger than itself. It is fond of the larvae of Leaf Beetles, caterpillars and slugs and snails. The eyes are similar to the simple eyes of the spiders, but are especially adapted for seeing in the dark. And like most other harvestmen it is a nocturnal animal mainly. After hatching there are 7 instars before the young become adults. The adults are seen from mid-July to the end of November.

Mitopus morio lives all over the Northern Hemisphere. And it loves the cold. It is very common in Scandinavia and Alaska, up to the Pole Circle. The species is inhabitant of Greenland and Iceland too and in mountainous areas lives in altitudes of up to 3,000 metres or more. In moderate areas the numbers seriously decline during warmer summers! A very common species all over the British Isles, Alaska, Canada and the northern USA.