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.
"The chapters are remarkably well written and of similar weight and approach. The illustrations are superb. 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, TLS November 16, 2007.
Contributors Preface 1. What are harvestmen? 2. Morphology and functional anatomy 3. Phylogeny and biogeography 4. Taxonomy 5. Paleontology 6. Cytogenetics 7. Ecology 8. Foraging and food habits 9. Natural enemies 10. Defense mechanisms 11. Social behavior 12. Reproduction 13. Development 14. Eco-physiology 15. Field and laboratory methods References Taxonomic Index Subject Index
Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha is Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Glauco Machado is an Associate Researcher at the University of Campinas, Brazil. Gonzalo Giribet is Associate Professor of Biology, Harvard University.
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 20071116 A summary volume exceeding those of other arachnid orders in breadth and completeness...The landmark chapter on taxonomy will be particularly welcome to workers considering studying these animals. For the first time, the family level diversity of this group is very clearly summarized, with keys, diagnostic characters, etymology, phylogenetic relationships, and plentiful scanning electron micrographs and illustrations, on a worldwide basis...The text presents enough unanswered questions to provide an army of graduate students with research topics. By illuminating what makes Opiliones a distinctive taxon, the book sheds much light on the evolution and biology of arachnids as a whole, and anyone with an interest in Arachnida should acquire this work. -- Michael L. Draney Quarterly Review of Biology 20071201