Summary for Leiobunum sp. A (Opiliones)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
5m to 131m
This is an, as yet, unnamed species of Leiobunum (see Wijnhoven et. al. 2007) which has been spreading through Europe. It was first identified in Britain from Nottinghamshire in 2009 and this population appears to have persisted (see: www.eakringbirds.com). It has also been recorded from the Sheffield area in Yorkshire, Ripley in Derbyshire and Maesteg in South Wales. In August 2021 it was first recorded in Ireland (Dublin).
It Europe it was first found in the Netherlands (in Ooij, east of Nijmegen) in 2004. It also occurs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Habitat and ecology
According to Wijnhoven (2009) Leiobunum sp. A is associated with stony ground. It is also found in ruderal places (e.g. disturbed areas) and around houses, on walls, under window sills and gutters, by former brickworks and old brick ovens, by rivers, under bridges, concrete blocks and the like.
Adults occur from late June to late December with the greatest activity in September. They probably overwinter in the egg stage. The obvious behavioural characteristic of this species is its gregariousness - forming roosting aggregations of between fifty and a thousand individuals. These roosts often occur on, and inside, buildings.
Little information has been published on the prey of this species but is likely to include a very wide range of invertebrates. A major concern is that it may (as in the case of Opilio canestrinii) pose a threat to native species of harvestmen.
This large invasive species would make a good candidate for studying species interactions as it establishes and spreads.
Wijnhoven, H., SchÃ¶nhofer, A. L. & Martens, J. 2007. An unidentified harvestman Leiobunum sp. alarmingly invading Europe (Arachnida: Opiliones). Arachnologische Mitteilungen 34: 27-38.
Wijnhoven, H. 2009. De Nederlandse hooiwagens (Opiliones) Naturalis Biodiversity Centre - Entomologische Tabellen, The Netherlands. (translation available here: http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal/p/Harvestman+Resources)
Account last edited by Meg Skinner at 12:11 on Thu 28th Oct 2021.
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