New Species of Daddy Longlegs Identified by Texas Tech Researcher
September 20, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Sept. 20, 2006
CONTACT: Gretchen Pressley, firstname.lastname@example.org
LUBBOCK – A Texas Tech researcher has identified a new species of harvestman, commonly
known as daddy longlegs.
James Cokendolpher, research associate at the Texas Tech Natural Science Research
Laboratory, received the specimen from Matthew Bowser, a biology graduate student
from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. According to Cokendolpher, Bowser found the
daddy longlegs on top of a small mountain in Alaska. The creature intrigued him because
it was found in such a remote habitat and because of its unusual adaptation to the
“There are few known arthropods that live that far north and at that elevation,” Cokendolpher
said. “This is the first one from that particular area. This discovery changed the
current knowledge of harvestman in Alaska.
Cokendolpher concretely determined that this was a never-before-seen species by looking
at differences in the morphology of the sample – the length and width of the appendages,
the color pattern, and other microscopic features, or biological signs that don’t
change when the specimen dies. The new sample did not match any other specimens found
in that region of Alaska or in the world.
Cokendolpher has studied arthropods and harvestmen since 1970. He has written extensive
papers on harvestmen, and one in particular written about 20 years ago details the
genus Leptobunus, which Cokendolpher concluded is the genus of the new species.
Cokendolpher and Bowser are currently collaborating on a peer-reviewed scientific
article describing the new species. Bowser will continue his study of this particular
daddy longlegs to find out more about its biology, how it is able to survive the cold
temperatures, and how they eat with such a limited choice of available food. The article
should be completed this winter.
CONTACT: James Cokendopher, research associate, Natural Science Research Laboratory
in the Museum of Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2486, ext. 266 or email@example.com