• Laboratoire des sols
  • Université de lorraine

Opilions (faucheux)



Classification (systematic position)
Source : INPN


Animal Kingdom
Embranchement (Phylum) : Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnid
Subclass: Dromopoda
Ordre : Opiliones



Morphological characteristics
Arachnids with a globular body in a single part (fusion of the cephalothorax and abdomen compared to spiders), 4 pairs of very long and thin legs, presence of only two eyes unlike spiders which have more, 2 pairs of oral appendages (chelicerae and pedipalps).


Life cycle
The life cycle of harvestmen or harvestmen is spread over a year, it is the eggs or immature larvae that spend the winter because the adults die in late autumn after laying eggs.


Harvestmen are carnivores like spiders and feed mainly on small invertebrates and small living or dead insects.


Natural predators or regulators
Harvestmen are preyed upon by birds, reptiles and carnivorous insects.


Harvestmen are found in many environments, on the surface of the ground, on the foliage of plants, on walls or tree trunks.


Interests in the garden
Harvestmen do not weave webs and are not poisonous; they hunt on the ground or on plants, which allows the regulation of invertebrates such as aphids, insect larvae or even small slugs.


Did you know ?
The autotomy mechanism allows harvestmen to easily detach a leg when captured or attacked. Also on the second pair of legs they have glands that secrete repellent odors.

Last change : 03/04/22
opilion photo 520 700
Figure 1