Collecting Japananse harvestmen

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L-R: Shahan, Jim, Marshal, Nobuo

A group from SDSU (myself, Shahan Derkarabetian, Jim Starrett) just returned from a wonderful collecting trip in Japan.  We were hosted and escorted by Dr Nobuo Tsurusaki, an expert on Japanese harvestmen from Tottori University.  Nobuo took us to many excellent montane sites on Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu.  Reminded me very much of the Appalachians, although the landscape is much steeper and younger. Travunioids were our primary target, and we collected many, including Kaiononychus, Nippononychus, Metanippononychus, and Yuria.  Photos from the trip can be found here.

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Kainonychus akamai

Of course we also found other harvestmen – highlights for me included the Dyspnoi taxa Nipponopsalis, Cladolasma, and various Sabacon species. Nobuo also sensed our interest in mygalomorphs, and delivered with five genera, including Antrodiaetus, Calommata, Atypus, Lautouchia, and Conothele.  These were pretty spectacular, but really couldn’t be matched by the mesothele Heptathela.  In the end, I suppose that none of these arthropods could be matched by the one-meter-long Japanese Giant salamander …. if you know what this is, then you know what I mean.  If you don’t, please read more about Andrias japonicus.  We owe special thanks to Dr. Sumio Okada for taking us to see these mythical beasts.

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Japanese giant salamander

Finally, I’d like to thank my lab members Jim & Shahan for their hard work.  We kinda knew this was going to be a fun trip …. we indeed had a great time.  Lawson Station anyone?? 🙂

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About marshalhedin

University Professor, teaching college students about biological diversity & evolution, conducting original research in the realm of arachnid systematics
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