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1 August 2013 Food choice of the Neotropical harvestman Erginulus clavotibialis (Opiliones: Laniatores: Cosmetidae)
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Relatively little is known about the food habits of neotropical harvestmen. We used Erginulus clavotibialis (Pickard-Cambridge 1905), a locally abundant species of cosmetid harvestman in Belize, in a food choice experiment. Individuals were presented with fresh fruit (pineapple) and live invertebrate prey (termites) in an experimental chamber. This species showed a strong preference for fruit, as 72% of individuals ate it first and 67% spent the most time in the fruit-containing portion of the experimental chamber. Five E. clavotibialis (13%) consumed termites, confirming this species' ability to capture and consume live invertebrate prey. Adult males located food more quickly than nymphs. Harvestmen feeding on fruit were also significantly more active than non-feeding individuals or those preying upon termites first. Opportunistic frugivory may be important to E. clavotibialis during times when fruit is available (e.g., wet season). We hypothesize that this species exhibits a generalist diet in the field.

The American Arachnological Society
Maynard H. Schaus, Victor R. Townsend Jr., and Jeffrey J. Illinik "Food choice of the Neotropical harvestman Erginulus clavotibialis (Opiliones: Laniatores: Cosmetidae)," The Journal of Arachnology 41(2), 219-221, (1 August 2013).
Received: 5 November 2012; Published: 1 August 2013