Diversity of our Opiliones with Buglife Northern Ireland

Saturday 28th October, 2023 - 10:00 am - 1:30 pm

Crawfordsburn Country Park, 32 Bridge Road, South Helen's Bay, BT19 1JT

On Saturday 28th October @ 10am, join Wild Belfast and Buglife to explore harvestmen at Crawfordsburn Country Park.

Josh, Conservation Officer for Buglife and a Wild Belfast member will discuss the role of harvestmen (Arachnid order: Opiliones) in our ecosystems, their incredible morphology, defensive tactics, life histories and biodiversity. This will be topped off with a walk to find some of the species present at Crawfordsburn Country Park.

Discover species adapted to catch small jumping prey, those with almost entirely female populations, others that have acclimatised incredibly well to urban habitats, and explore establishing non-native species that have gone under-the-radar.

Harvestmen are completely harmless to us with no venom glands, thus provides a friendly gateway to begin to overcome Arachnophobia – they are not spiders (Arachnid order: Araneae), and we’ll explore this more. We hope to remove the stigma around Arachnids one step at a time, showing their diversity and importance in our ecosystems.

Please use the hashtag #OurOpiliones to share photographs from the event and for identification help.

This event is for anyone with an enthusiasm for invertebrates, and all abilities welcome. Keep in mind the walk will be in a forest habitat in autumn with hills and uneven ground that may be unsuitable for some.

We will meet at Crawfordsburn Country Park Visitor Centre in the Meadow Suite.

Talk will start promptly at 10:15am. We will then have a short break before exploring Crawfordsburn.

We highly recommend good comfortable walking shoes/boots that are ideally waterproof, and suitable clothing for walking in a forest habitat in Irish autumn/winter. Recommended to bring a torch which will make it easier to find certain species in the dark habitat. Please feel free to bring a camera if have a macro photography set up as we can further explore this. Food is not provided by us, however, there is a café on site and welcome to bring a packed lunch. Toilets are also available on site.

This event is supported by the Irish Naturalist Journal Grant Scheme, and co-hosted by Wild Belfast & Buglife. Site permissions by NIEA.

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