Student Research Projects

SEM Investigation of the Microanatomy of a Common Harvestmen from Virginia

Student Hunter Melius '15
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 400: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


The legs of harvestmen feature an abundance of cuticular structures including spines, tubercles, trichomes, slit sensilla, and sensilla chaetica. Comparing the distribution and abundances of these structure can provide insights into the behavioral ecology of these arachnids and may help to understand how they interact with the environment that they inhabit. The purpose of the research was to compare the distribution of sensory structures on legs I, II, III and IV of the common harvestman, Leiobunum formosum. The study included examinations of the trochanter, femur, patella, tibia, metatarsus and tarsus of each leg. The most abundant sensory structures were sensilla chaetica. Two unusual cuticular structures were observed.