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.
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To cite this page: Myers, P. 2001. "Arachnida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 01, 2023 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Arachnida/
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services.
The ADW Team gratefully acknowledges their support.