Giant Harvestman With Leg Span of Nearly 13 Inches Found in Laos Cave

Posted on October 17, 2012

Giant Harvestman in Laos

A scientist at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt has discovered a harvestman with a leg span of more than 33 centimeters, just under 13 inches. This newly discovered long legged arachnid comes in just shy of the record. There's a larger harvestman species - with a leg span over 34 centimeters - that is found in South America.

Dr. Peter Jager from the Senckenberg Research Institute was originally in Laos to film a TV production. Jager says, "In between takes I collected spiders from the caves in the southern province of Khammoua. In one of the caves I discovered a harvestman that was absolutely huge."

The scientists are still trying to determine the correct species for the harvestman so they can give it a name. They believe it is probably the genus Gagrella in the Sclerosomatidae family.

Body of Giant Harvestman in Laos

Jager says, "It's a shame we can't identify such an exceptional discovery correctly, i.e. its species, we haven't dealt with these and related genera from China and neighbouring South East Asia before. Specialists are also unavailable due to the fact that descriptive taxonomy is no longer the main focus of research funding."

Photos: Senckenberg

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