This large Class of arthropods includes over 60,000 described species (and most likely a very large number of so-far undescribed ones). Spiders make up the majority of these (over 50,000 described species); with mites and ticks next largest (around 48,200 species). The Arachnida also includes a diverse array of smaller groups, including scorpions (1200 species), whip scorpions (100 species), palpigrades (60 species), pseudoscorpions (2000 species), solpugids (900 species), and harvestmen (5000 species). Nearly all species are terrestrial.
Arachnids have a pair of tagmata called a prosoma and opisthosoma. The prosoma is partially or completely covered with a carapace-like shield. The opisthosoma may be segmented or unsegmented. The appendages on the opithosoma are absent or modified, being used as spinnerets (spiders) or pectines (probably sensory in function, found in scorpions). Respiration is via tracheae or book lungs; it is cutaneous in many small arachnids.
Phil Myers (author), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Help us improve the site by taking our survey.
To cite this page: Myers, P. 2001. "Arachnida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 25, 2015 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Arachnida/
Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control.