The term arachnid comes from the Greek word "arachne", which means spider. It refers to a group of invertebrate animals which all possess eight legs. There are over 100,000 species of arachnid worldwide and include; spiders, harvestmen, scorpions, ticks and mites. Some people are terrified by these creatures, but they can exhibit beautful colors and in the case of some spiders, beautiful, complex webs. Here is a look at a few arachnids you might encounter at Up Yonda Farm:
Black and Yellow Argiope - Argiope aurantia
This spider is an argiope, which is a group of large spiders that hang head down in the center of their webs waiting for prey. All agriopes belong to the family of arachnids known as the Orb Weavers, because of the eccentric webs that these spiders weave. Often times, an agriope web will have zigzag bands, as did this spider, which was seen at Up Yonda Farm last summer. Black and Yellow Argiopes are good to have around, because they eat bees, hornets and wasps.
Daddy Long Legs - Opiliones sp.
This name is used very loosely to describe a number of large, small bodied spiders with stilt-like legs known scientifically as Opiliones or Harvestmen. You may encounter these spiders almost anywhere outside, but they like to live under logs, leaves, etc. Daddy Long Legs are non-poisonous and do not produce silk, meaning that they do not make a web. If ever you see a Daddy Long Legs on a spider web, it is because they often fall prey to other spider species.
Deer Tick - Ixodes scapularis
Also known as the black legged tick, this tiny, hard bodied arachnid feeds on the blood of mammals, including humans. It is best known for its ability to pass disease causing bacteria such as Borrellia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, to its hosts. Anyone who has a tick attached to their skin or suspects that they have been bitten by a tick should consult with a physician.
Wolf Spider - Lycosidae sp.
Wolf Spiders are small, furry bodied spiders and are usually combinations of brown, gray, white and black.They may have orange spots on the sides of their jaws. They have 8 eyes with the 4 largest ones arranged in a square at the top of their heads. Wolf Spiders are long lived, averaging about 5-7 years. They prefer to live outdoors and unlike other spiders that weave a web and wait for prey to get caught in it, wolf spiders hunt for their food, which includes crickets, beetles and flies.