Table of Contents
ISRN Zoology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 549765, 16 pages
Research Article

Diversity and Habitat Use of Neotropical Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) in a Costa Rican Rainforest

1Department of Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P.O. Box 42451, Lafayette, LA 70504-2451, USA
2Department of Biology, Virginia Wesleyan College, 1584 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502, USA
3Department of Biology, Birmingham-Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254, USA

Received 7 November 2011; Accepted 7 December 2011

Academic Editors: M. Kuntner and S. E. Walker

Copyright © 2012 Daniel N. Proud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In tropical rain forests, harvestmen assemblages are extremely diverse, with richness often exceeding 25 species. In the neotropics, there are published accounts of harvestmen faunas in South America rainforests (especially Amazonia), but relatively little is known about the community ecology of harvestmen in tropical forests of Central America. In this paper, we provide the first insights into the diverse assemblage of harvestmen inhabiting a wet forest at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Over five field seasons, we recorded 38 species. During our 2009 field season, we examined variation in species abundance, richness, and composition between adjacent successional forests (young secondary, mature secondary, and primary forests) as well as between distinct habitats (ground/litter layer and shrub/tree layer). Based on night samples (but not day), our results indicate that there are only minor differences in species composition and relative abundance between the forest ages, but no differences in richness. The ground/litter layer and shrub/tree layer habitats differed markedly in species composition, species richness, and relative abundance of several species. Our analysis of covariance supports the hypothesis that leg length is related to climbing behavior for several species belonging to Eupnoi and Laniatores.