We report observations over several field seasons of egg and juvenile guarding by males of a Central American species of cosmetid harvestman (Opiliones: Cosmetidae), Cynorta bromeliaciaGoodnight & Goodnight, 1947. This represents only the second species of the family Cosmetidae that has been reported to exhibit paternal care. Importantly, we observed multiple instances of solitary male egg-guarding, including examples where eggs and young were at different stages of development. We also observed a few cases of mate guarding by a male at an oviposition site, where the female was near to eggs that appeared to have been recently laid. We discuss these observations in relation to the arboreal tendency of this species and speculate that oviposition sites are close to roosting sites or other such refuges for either the male or both sexes. Given the weak sexual dimorphism displayed by the species, we discuss that the externally visible characters we used to identify males are unlikely to provide any advantage in fighting off conspecific males. We also suspect that females may produce multiple clutches in this species, but this remains to be verified. Finally, we discuss how our findings at the end of the wet season may relate to the local microclimate and suggest further standardized observations throughout the year are required.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1