Pest Advice Blog

The Cryptomaster Behemoth

A newly discovered arachnid TRULY has one of the coolest (and maybe scariest) sounding names of any creature!

Cryptomaster Leviathan
Source: Marshal Hedin via Wikimedia Commons
What comes to mind when you hear “Cryptomaster Behemoth”? Maybe you think of some kind of other-worldly guardian armed with a sword and shield while protecting a mausoleum. Perhaps a very, very tall computer programmer who encrypts data comes to mind? Or maybe you think of both: a tremendous crypt-keeping beast that stays current with today’s technology by having its tomb outfitted with high-speed internet and a Wi-Fi connection. I prefer to think that “Cryptomaster Behemoth” references the last one, mostly because of the visual it brings to mind.

The truth is the Cryptomaster Behemoth is not related to any of those. What it is related to is actually another previously recorded species of the Cryptomaster genus called Leviathan. Cryptomaster Leviathan was the first and original Cryptomaster and it was not until January 2016 that an article citing the new species was approved. The Cryptomasters are arachnids that are related to “Harvestmen”, or what we commonly refer to as “Daddy Long Legs”. Harvestmen are probably best known for their recent videos that can be seen all across social media. Each video is the same – the camera is focused on what looks like a large pile of pine needles until someone touches it and the whole mound comes to life; each “pine needle” is actually one leg, belonging to a Harvestman. It is at this point in the video that any nearby human starts running as if his or her life depended on it as hundreds of Daddy Long Legs scatter in all different directions.

So how did Cryptomaster Behemoth get its name?

The genus portion of its name “Cryptomaster” was named because it prefers to remain unseen. They always hide in the landscape, usually underneath some decaying, moist forest material such as stumps or leaves. Clearly, since the Leviathan species was thought to be the only Cryptomaster for decades, the name is well-deserved.

The last part of the name and part that defines the species, “Behemoth” was given due to the large size of this arachnid. Similar to Cryptomaster Leviathan, the Behemoth is much bigger than other arachnids that are genetically similar. According to the research team who discovered Cryptomaster Behemoth, both names, Leviathan and Behemoth, are from the Book of Job in the Bible and describe two huge and strong beasts.

Everything is relative, though. The Cryptomaster Behemoth is not very big compared to a human. In fact, Cryptomaster Behemoth has a body length of about four millimeters. At this size, the Cryptomaster Behemoth could sit comfortably on your smallest finger’s nail.

So, despite having a name suited for some kind of colossal monstrosity, the Cryptomaster Behemoth is really nothing more than a harmless Daddy Long Legs. Therefore, if you were hoping to see one on your next visit to the forests of Oregon, you might want to practice your woodland hide-and-go-seek skills and bring a magnifying glass. Truthfully, thank goodness these things are not as big as their name implies!

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