November 30th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

80 acres: maybe an actual scientific discovery?

Yesterday (before the "episode")  Richard spotted a Daddy longlegs/Harvestman that was different than the one I'd photographed before.  It was on the side of one of the smaller water storage tanks, in the shade.  Kind of between the two tanks, so getting a picture wasn't easy, but I looked, agreed it was different, and took the pictures. 

And sent them off to the biologist who had IDed my *other* Harvestman a day or so before (I'm losing track, OK?)

Well, today he told me that he would like me to collect some specimens of the new would key out to Leiobunum vittatum, but that species is so widespread that he suspects it's been "lumped" too much--the range of the species is a lot of North America, and a species that doesn't travel far might speciate.  Texas has a couple of endangered species that are cave-dwelling harvestmen.   He'd like to do DNA studies to see if "my" Harvestman really  is L. vittatum or something else...something not so far known. 

So not only do I have another new species for the list (third this week), but it might even be a NEW new species.  If, of course, I can find one again.  The one from yesterday was not waiting patiently to be collected...

On the left is L. townsendi, an aged specimen.    Although the dorsum is a little wrinkly or bumpy, it's unmarked; the legs have stripes near the joints.   On the right is the L. vittatum with dark markings on the dorsum and unstriped legs.


The coolness factor here is over the top.