Thursday, 20 October 2011
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.
In some places, harvestmen are known by the name "daddy longlegs" or "granddaddy longlegs", but this name is also used for two other unrelated arthropods: the crane fly (Tipulidae) and the cellar spider (Pholcidae).