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The Bunny Harvestman (Metagryne bicolumnata)

In 2017, a creature that looked like it had a dog or bunny head on its back was photographed. This photograph, taken by animal photographer and biologist Andreas Kay, soon went viral. What is it?

Physical Description and Behavior

The creature was revealed to be a type of arachnid, affectionately dubbed a bunny harvestman. Bunnies are defined by greenish-yellow appendages and a large black hump on their backs. This hump has two spots, and two spikes, making it look similar to the head of a rabbit or a canine when viewed from an angle. Despite being recorded since 1959 by Carl Roewer, very little information has come out about this particular species of arachnid. Most of the information that we know on harvestmen as a genus has come from Roewer.

Fun fact: Despite being arachnids and having 8 legs, harvestmen (like daddy long legs) are not spiders. They are more closely related to scorpions and camel spiders. They also do not have any venom glands, so they are completely harmless to people. Instead of hunting prey as spiders do, harvestmen consume rotting vegetation and animal matter.

These arachnids are quite small and have segmented legs. Unlike spiders, they do not have a segmented torso. Their two small eyes also differentiate them from spiders, who generally have 6 or more. Their peculiar form is speculated to have given it an advantage, appearing more threatening to predators.

Habitat and Location

Unlike spiders, harvestmen do not produce silk, and ergo do not live in webs. Instead, they live under rocks and logs, preferring moist locations. Most harvestmen are the same, although a few species may live in more arid regions.

The Bunny Harvestman lives exclusively in Ecuador, which is known as one of the most biodiverse areas of the world.

Please visit the video below to learn more about this fascinating organism.

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