In the last post on Rilaena triangularis, I mentioned that there are only very few species of harvestmen that are adult around this time of year. One of them is Platynunus pinetorum, but this species is not very common in most northern European countries. Today I went looking for it in the forest, and hurray, I found one!
Isn’t it a nice one? It came falling out a tree when I shook the lowest branch, and landed in my white umbrella. Once put on the grass it was very patient letting me take pictures. (Luckily, because my simple camera that only has auto-focus really likes to focus on everything except the thing that I have in mind…)
P. pinetorum originally occured in central Europe, but over the past two decades it has moved northwards. In Belgium it was first recorded in 1992 and in the Netherlands in 1998. Also in Germany, where it already occurred, the species is becoming more and more abundant. Only a few years ago (2010) there was a first sighting in Sheffield in the UK.
As already indicated by its name, this species is often found on coniferous trees, such as pine. This is the area where I was today, with nice low pine trees so that it’s easy to shake the branches.
P. pinetorum is a very good-looking harvestman, if I may say so. It is rather large (5-8 mm) and has a very dark colour. The body of a male is completely black, with brown legs, while the female is dark brown with a saddle of black and white (so, the one pictured here is a female). They have a row of white spikes running along the underside of the palps, pointing forward when the palps are drawn in (visible on the first two pictures above). On the picture below a view of it’s cute white belly.