Few people have heard of the mite harvestman, and fewer still would recognize it at close range. The animal is a relative of the far more familiar daddy longlegs. But its legs are stubby rather than long, and its body is only as big as a sesame seed.
To find mite harvestmen, scientists go to dark, humid forests and sift through the leaf litter. The animals respond by turning motionless, making them impossible for even a trained eye to pick out. “They look like grains of dirt,” said Gonzalo Giribet, an invertebrate biologist at Harvard.