‘Harvestmen’, ‘daddy longlegs’, or ‘harvest spiders’ are all common names of the diverse order Opiliones. There are approximately 6,411 described species.

A ‘typical’ opilionid has:

  • extremely long, fragile-looking legs
  • a small, rounded body

Opilionids have no silk glands, or venom glands, but possess odorous glands to repel predators.

Other special characteristics of the order include a penis in males and an ovipositor in females, and certain species with an omnivorous diet.

About the name

In Britain, Opiliones were known as ‘shepherd spiders’ from the 1600s. This is because opilio means ‘sheep master’ in Latin.