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It’s a Dog! It’s a Bunny! No, It’s a Spider!

November 12th, 2018

Most spiders that we spot around our homes and outside tend to look pretty similar, with the main body and eight long legs. They also don’t tend to be anywhere near cute, or make one think of a cute bunny rabbit or dog. Well, there is a time and place for everything, and it seems that even something as odd as a somewhat cute spider with what looks like bunny or dog ears actually exists.

Depending on who you ask, the Metagryne bicolumnata from the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador resembles the black head of a bunny rabbit or a dog. This little critter was actually first discovered in 1959 by Carl Friedrich Roewer, a German zoologist. It only began getting some attention when it was photographed and filmed by Andreas Kay in 2017. It has a dark abdomen featuring two knobs that jut straight up, resembling the ears of a dog or bunny rabbit. The abdomen also features two small yellow dots that are placed in such a way as to look like eyes on the dog/bunny’s face. The real eyes are actually located further down and forward on the body, making them appear like the nose of the bunny/dog. It is likely this strange body is designed to make the creature look bigger than it really is to possible predators.

While M. bicolumnata has eight legs like a spider, it is actually an animal known as an Opilione, also referred to as harvesters, harvestmen, or daddy longlegs. Both harvesters and spiders are arachnids, but harvestmen don’t produce silk like spiders, and so aren’t found in webs. They tend to prefer moist habitats, and can be found under rocks and logs. While some of them can be opportunistic predators, most eat decomposing animal and vegetative matter. Harvestmen do not produce venom and are completely harmless to humans. The M. bicolumnata is actually a pretty cute little critter…for an arachnid.

Have you ever seen an arachnid that you thought looked kind of cute? What kind of arachnid was it?

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