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Harvestmen are an unusual bunch compared with other arachnids

Talk by Paul Hillyard,to coincide with publication of 3rd edition of the Synopsis

Compared with spiders, harvestmen are a relatively little known group. It cannot be claimed that harvestmen have much medical or commercial importance, but they are often a significant part of the invertebrate community and in some ecosystems may be present in such numbers that they constitute a greater predatory force than that of the spiders themselves. Recent taxonomic research, however, finds that harvestmen, or the order Opiliones, is perhaps the most difficult of all the arachnid groups to place in a phylogenetic tree. This is because they possess a number of unique characters. Thus the speaker will attempt to communicate his belief that Opiliones is an interesting group deserving of much more attention.

Besides the scientific aspects, Opiliones have quite a lot of folklore attached to them. When seen, almost everybody views them in a kindly way - even arachnophobic people! Thus this presentation will cover cultural, taxonomic, behavioral and morphological aspects of the group, while at the same time focusing primarily on the British species and their distribution, as detailed in the new edition of the Society's Synopsis entitled 'British Harvestmen'.


Paul Hillyard | talks


Date and Time:

23 June 2005 at 6:00 pm


1 hour



The Linnean Society of London
Burlington House
50 Piccadilly
0207 434 4479

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Tea is served before the lecture at 5.30pm in the Linnean Society library

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