Dorsal views of female (left) and male of Harmanda instructa aenescens, from Martens (1987).

Belongs within: Sclerosomatidae.

Harmanda is a genus of sclerosomatid harvestmen primarily known from the Himalayan region; species assigned to this genus from other parts of Asia may be misplaced (Martens 1987).

More Gagrellinae
Published 21 July 2009
Dorsal views of the bodies of a selection of Harmanda species. From Martens (1987).

I’ve written elsewhere about the horrors attending on the Gagrellinae, a subfamily of mostly tropical harvestmen found in Asia and the Americas. But it’s not all doom and gloom—outside the black hole that is the Gagrella concept, there’s some sections that are quite pleasant.

Harmanda is one of the safer gagrelline genera because, unlike most gagrellines, it’s actually been revised by Jochen Martens in 1987. Martens listed eleven species (one with four subspecies) from the Himalayas in the genus united by their distinctive male genital morphology—very flat, relatively broad shaft, with the mantle “wings” starting very shortly after the glans, and a long muscle extending at least half the length of the glans. Harmanda species also possess a short, round apophysis (side-branch) on the pedipalp patella. Martens didn’t mention two species earlier included in the genus by Roewer (1955)—Harmanda annulata from northern India and H. triseriata from Singapore. Like other gagrelline genera, Roewer assigned species to Harmanda based on little more than the number of nodules in each leg, a character that may not even be constant within one individual, let alone one genus, and the isolated geographic location of the Singapore species at least suggests that it may not be Harmanda. Roewer (1954) also divided Asian Gagrellinae into two “groups”, Gagrelleae and Zalepteae, based on the presence (Gagrelleae) or absence (Zalepteae) of large central spines on the abdomen, and Harmanda would be zaleptean by this measure. But again, this feature was probably over-rated by Roewer—Martens (1987) described one genus, Pokhara, whose members were clearly related on the basis of genital morphology but which included both “gagrellean” and “zaleptean” species.

Close-up details of Harmanda khumbua and Harmanda elegantula, showing diagnostic features. From Martens (1987).

Martens (1987) commented that Harmanda included some of the most eye-catching Himalayan Gagrellinae, with brightly metallic-coloured abdomens (metallic colours are unusual among arachnids, but a number of Gagrellinae go in for them). Most are inhabitants of oak and conifer forests, and can reach reasonable altitudes—Harmanda medioimmicans gets up to 3600 m.

Finally, I’ll point out that northern India and the Himalayas may be a significant centre of diversity for Gagrellinae—a decent proportion of the species in this subfamily have been described from there. But the obvious question is, is this area truly particularly speciose, or have the harvestmen there been better studied than elsewhere?

Systematics of Harmanda

Characters (from Martens 1987): Shaft of penis strongly dorsoventrally flattened, narrow, largely paralell-sided, without a demarcated basis, muscles occupying at least half of shaft. Dorsal mantle of pockets well developed, mostly significantly overlapping ventrally, mantle often with pigment; distinct wings along margin of shaft, often nearly reaching nearly ventral opening, rarely completely missing. Pedipalps slender, apophyses strongly developed, especially on patella, less so on tibia, weaker in female than male. Sexual dimorphism clearly present in some species in dorsal colour patterning or gland formation on tibia of male pedipalp.

<==Harmanda Roewer 1910 [=Harmandella Roewer 1910; incl. Ischnobunus Roewer 1955]C92
    |--*H. instructa Roewer 1911M18 [=*Harmandella instructaC92]
    |    |--H. i. instructaM87 [incl. Harmandella lineata Roewer 1911M87, Harmanda lineataR55]
    |    |--H. i. aenescens (Roewer 1911) [=Harmandella aenescens; incl. Adungrella atrorubra Suzuki 1967]M87
    |    |--H. i. bhutanensis Martens 1987M87
    |    `--H. i. lineatocoxa Martens 1987M87
    |--H. annulata (Roewer 1911)R55 [=Harmandella annulataR23]
    |--H. arunensis Martens 1987M87
    |--H. beroni Martens 1987M87
    |--H. caerulea (Roewer 1910) [=Zaleptus caeruleus; incl. Z. splendens Roewer 1911]M87
    |--H. corrugata Martens 1987M87
    |--H. elegantula (Roewer 1955) [=*Ischnobunus elegantulus]C92
    |--H. kanoi (Suzuki 1967) [=Verpulus kanoi]M87
    |--H. khumbua Martens 1987M87
    |--H. latephippiata Martens 1987M87
    |--H. medioimmicans Martens 1987M87
    |--H. nigrolineata Martens 1987M87
    |--H. periscopos Martens 2018M18
    |--H. trimaculata Suzuki 1977S77
    `--H. triseriata Roewer 1923R55

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C92] Crawford, R. L. 1992. Catalogue of the genera and type species of the harvestman superfamily Phalangioidea (Arachnida). Burke Museum Contributions in Anthropology and Natural History 8: 1–60.

[M87] Martens, J. 1987. Opiliones aus dem Nepal-Himalaya. VI. Gagrellinae (Arachnida: Phalangiidae). Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 93: 87–202.

[M18] Martens, J. 2018. Remarkable new harvestman species from the Nepalese and Indian Himalayas (Arachnida, Opiliones: Phalangiidae and Sclerosomatidae). In: M. Hartmann, M. V. L. Barclay & J. Weipert (eds) Biodiversität und Naturausstattung im Himalaya VI pp. 169–178. Verein der Freunde und Förderer des Naturkundemuseum Erfurt.

[R23] Roewer, C.-F. 1923. Die Weberknechte der Erde: Systematische Bearbeitung der bisher bekannnten Opiliones. Gustav Fischer: Jena.

Roewer, C. F. 1954. Indoaustralische Gagrellinae (Opiliones, Arachnidae). (Weitere Weberknechte XVIII). 1. Teil. Senckenbergiana Biologica 35 (3–4): 181–236.

[R55] Roewer, C. F. 1955. Indoaustralische Gagrellinae (Opiliones, Arachnidae). (Weitere Weberknechte XVIII). 4. Teil (Schluß). Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (3–4): 123–171.

[S77] Suzuki, S. 1977. Report on a collection of opilionids from the Phillippines. Journal of Science of the Hiroshima University, Series B, Division 1 (Zoology) 27 (1): 1–120.

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