Photo: Bunny harvestman looks part Totoro

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A member of the order Opiliones, this bunny harvestman (Metagryne bicolumnata) looks like the impossible offspring of Totoro and a daddy longlegs! Harvestmen – also known as daddy longlegs – are not actually spiders, despite the leggy look.

Ron Clouse, an expert on the critters, says, “They are generally very, very bad at getting around, so they tend to have lots of species, because the minute a river flows between two different populations or a mountain rises and cuts one population off from another population, they split into two new species.” Which accounts for the delightful appendages sported by this one photographed by Andreas Kay in Ecuador. Since they split off into new species, they can look very different from each other as they adapt to their specific habitat – the ones in South America can even look like bunny-shaped forest spirits.

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