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Temperature and mating in harvestmen

Cite this dataset

Fowler-Finn, Kasey; Johnson, Todd (2022). Temperature and mating in harvestmen [Dataset]. Dryad.


Temperature impacts a wide range of mating behaviours, particularly in ectothermic organisms that tend to havebody temperatures similar to ambient thermal conditions. Here, we test the effects of thermal variation on precopulatory and copulatory behaviour in the harvester Leiobunum politum Weed 1889, which belongs to the group commonly known as daddy longlegs. We ran single choice mating trials across temperatures commonly experienced in the field during the mating season (18 - 34 °C) across two years. We tested how temperature affected the likelihood to move, attempt to mate, and successfully mate, as well as the duration of copulation. Mating was highest at low to intermediate temperatures, and the temperature at which peak mating rates occurred varied across years. The wide range of temperatures across which L. politum are found to mate reflect thermal variability in the field and the flexibility in mating behaviour in this fascinating animal.


Behavioral data collected in 2017 and 2018. 2017 trials were video recorded and analyzed for quantitative data. 2018 data set scored during the trials.

Usage notes

Some trials were excluded due to missing weights. One female was missing half her legs. Please contact corresponding author if you wish to use the data set.


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1656818