Opiliones

Opiliones

About Opiliones

Opiliones (formerly Phalangida) are an order of arachnids commonly known as harvestmen. As of December 2011, over 6,500 species of harvestmen have been discovered worldwide, although the real number of extant species may exceed 10,000. The order Opiliones can be divided into four suborders: Cyphophthalmi, Eupnoi, Dyspnoi and Laniatores. Well-preserved fossils have been found in the 400-million-year-old Rhynie cherts of Scotland, which look surprisingly modern, indicating that the basic structure of the harvestmen has not changed much since then. Phylogenetic position is disputed: their closest relatives may be the mites (Acari) or the Novogenuata (the Scorpiones, Pseudoscorpiones and Solifugae). Although they belong to the class of arachnids, harvestmen are not spiders, which are of the order Araneae rather than the order Opiliones.

Contributions by Sarefo, Vae victis, and CatherineMunro.