Don’t Call Them Spiders: A Closer Look at Tiny Harvestmen

1.Some of the cyphos collected from Bukidnon Province on Mindanao in July 2014. The one at the top is male, and the others are female. (Photo by Ronald Clouse)
Some of the cyphos collected from Bukidnon Province on Mindanao in July 2014. The one at the top is male, and the others are female. (Photo by Ronald Clouse)

What’s cuter than a basket of puppies, you ask? Easy: a dish full of cyphos!

Collected by us last July, specimens of these strange relatives of ticks and daddy longlegs have found their way from Bukidnon Province on the Philippine island of Mindanao to North Carolina via the National Museum of the Philippines and Harvard University. Here at UNC Charlotte, I was able to view them for the first time under a powerful microscope. What a great sight.

These are the first ever views of adult female cyphos from the Philippines, but I really wanted to see the males and whether they had certain telling features. Male cyphos in Southeast Asia often have a single little pore at their posterior end, especially if they come from Borneo. If Mindanao was once connected to Borneo, then we would expect the male cyphos in Mindanao to have this little pore. Indeed, they do, and you can see it as a tiny white dot on the hind end of the underside photo of the male here.

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