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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Don’t Forget the Scale

To the Editors:

William A. Shear’s article “Harvestmen” (November–December 2009) on Opiliones is fascinating. It’s no wonder that these insects enthrall the author. The photographs accompanying the text are most illuminating and beautiful. But why did neither author nor editor provide a scale for them? When searching for them, how can we find them without a clue as to their size?

Horst Roth
Montreal, QC

Dr. Shear responds:

In the case of Leiobunum species, the most common North American forms are so frequently seen that they are familiar to many people. Generally, their body lengths are in the range of 5 to 10 millimeters, with legs spanning much larger dimensions. In the cases of more exotic species, the dimensions range from around 2 millimeters in body length for some of the smaller cyphophthalmids to as much as 30 millimeters for a really big Brazilian Gonyleptid. Leg spans of these large species can be as wide as 25 centimeters.


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