Notes on the Foraging Behavior of the Brazilian Cave Harvestman Goniosoma Spelaeum (Opiliones, Gonyleptidae)


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Publication Date

April 2002


Goniosoma spelaeum (Mello-Leitão 1932) hide in caves during the day and leave periodically after dusk to forage, moving mainly vertically (towards the canopy). When stopped, individuals of all developmental stages often showed the behavior of cleaning appendages. To hunt, some specimens remained for several hours in a static posture with all legs spread out, radially disposed. In a less frequently used hunting position the body is used as a “web” i.e., the animal is supported by two opposing leaves, leaving its body between them, while legs II are kept free in the air and moving constantly. The first position possibly increasing the chance of meeting a possible prey by creating a larger area of contact, and the second especially by intercepting flying insects. Food items observed being taken in nature include: noctuid lepidopterans, tipulid and nematoceran dipterans, ascalaphid neuropterans, and isopods. They also infrequently use their chelicerae to chew on the rim of leaves and/or pieces of moss, with no ingestion of plant matter. Therefore, this behavior is probably related to drinking.


Goniosoma Spelaeum, Caves, Harvestman

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The Journal of Arachnology, Vol. 30, no. 1 (2002-04-01).