Deep in the rainforests of Ecuador, there lives a creature that looks like it jumped out of a book on mythical animals — and it’s only the size of a thumbnail
A viral photo circulating on Twitter has revealed the existence of a strange insect discovered in Ecuador’s rainforests – and even arachnophobes may be divided about this one.
The Bunny Harvestman, like many other members of its family, has eight spindly yellow legs.
But it also has what appears to be a black dog’s head grafted on top, complete with flashing yellow eyes.
Its newfound celebrity has generated online disputes over whether the weird spider should be deemed cute or disturbing, and many social media users have checked to make sure it isn’t a Photoshop ploy.
The Bunny Harvestman boasts eight spindly yellow legs, not unlike many other members of its family. But, it also has what appears to be the head of a black dog, with glowing yellow eyes, grafted on top
Andreas Kay photographed the strange harvestman (also known as daddy long legs) in the Amazon rainforest in 2017
The small arachnid’s scientific name is Metagryne bicolumnata, but because of its looks, it has been known as the bunny harvestman.
And despite its somewhat intimidating looks, it’s completely harmless.
Close-up photographs give the appearance that the rabbit harvestman is fairly massive, although it’s not even the size of a human fingernail.
It also lacks venom glands.
Photographer Andreas Kay documented the unusual species of harvestman (also known as daddy long legs) in the Amazon rainforest back in 2017
Its newfound fame has sparked debates online about whether the strange arachnid should be considered adorable or creepy, and sent many social media users checking to be sure it isn’t simply a Photoshop ruse
The internet, however, can’t get enough of this arachnid because of its contrasting features and cartoonish visage.
‘This is a real photo of an actual living arachnid, a cousin of spiders, called the bunny harvestman,’ science writer Ferris Jabr tweeted alongside one of Kay’s photos last week, sparking widespread interest.
‘But clearly it should be called The Grim,’ Jabr added, in a nod to an ominous dog symbol from the Harry Potter series.
It’s unknown what function its mismatched characteristics serve, but specialists believe it’s a protection mechanism.
While its scientific name is Metagryne bicolumnata, the tiny arachnid has come to be known as the bunny harvestman because of its appearance. And despite its somewhat intimidating looks, it’s completely harmless
The yellow ‘eyes’ seen just below the arachnid’s bunny-like ‘ears’ aren’t actually eyes at all, but deceptive eye-spots.
The harvestman’s real eyes can be seen below these dots, as tiny black pinpricks.
‘Maybe the eye spots and ear-like protuberances are meant to fool predators into thinking the creature is larger than it really is,’ Kay wrote in a blog post about the discovery last year.
In any case, even scientists agree it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.
The close-up photos create the impression that the bunny harvestman is quite large, but in actuality, it’s not even as big as a human fingernail.