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The Biology of Opiliones

Edited by Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha, Glauco Machado, and Gonzalo Giribet

ISBN 9780674023437

Publication date: 02/28/2007

This is the first comprehensive treatment of a major order of arachnids featuring more than 6,000 species worldwide, familiar in North America as daddy-longlegs but known scientifically as the Opiliones, or harvestmen. The 25 authors provide a much-needed synthesis of what is currently known about these relatives of spiders, focusing on basic conceptual issues in systematics and evolutionary ecology, making comparisons with other well-studied arachnid groups, such as spiders and scorpions.

Broad in scope, the volume is aimed at raising relevant questions from a diversity of fields, indicating areas in which additional research is needed. The authors focus on both the unique attributes of harvestmen biology, as well as on biological studies conducted with harvestmen species that contribute to the understanding of behavior and evolutionary biology in general. By providing a broad taxonomic and ecological background for understanding this major arachnid group, the book should give field biologists worldwide the means to identify specimens and provide an invaluable reference for understanding harvestmen diversity and biology.


  • Harvestmen covers virtually every aspect of harvestman biology… Inevitably, the longest chapter is on taxonomy, dealing with the disturbing features of the families and subfamilies in the four major Opiliones suborders. This is the first major revision of the order in over fifty years, and it is a tour de force… This is a book that will be prized by many naturalists, both amateur and professional. For anyone with even a passing interest in harvestmen, it will be required reading for decades to come.

    —Matthew Cobb, Times Literary Supplement


  • Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha is Professor at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Glauco Machado is an associate researcher at the University of Sau Paulo, Brazil.
  • Gonzalo Giribet is Associate Professor of Biology, Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 608 pages
  • 8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press