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Acari by Brian ReynoldsAcarid by Brian Reynolds

AmblypygidAmblypygid by Anonymous

Argiope aetheria by AnonymousAraneid (Argiope aetheria) by Anonymous

Opilionid by AnonymousOpilionid by Anonymous

Prokoenenia wheeleri by McCutchenPalpigrade (Prokoenenia wheeleri) by McCutchen

Chthonius minotaurus by AnonymousPseudoscorpion (Chthonius minotaurus) by Anonymous

Ricinuleid by AnonRicinuleid by Anonymous

SchizomidaSchizomida by Anonymous

Scorpion by AnonymousScorpion by Anonymous

Eremobates pallipes by Jerry RovnerSolifugid (Eremobates pallipes) by Jerry Rovner

Mastigoproctus by AnonymousThelyphonid (Mastigoproctus) by Anonymous

Header Images: Opilionid by Joe Warfel, Lynx Spider by Brian Reynolds, Lasiochernes cretonatus Pseudoscorpion by Anonymous.

About Arachnids

About Arachnids (many links are to Wikipedia pages on arachnids)

Arachnids are a class of arthropods (animals with jointed appendages) that have eight legs. Other arthropods are insects, crustaceans (like crabs and lobsters), and myriapods (centipedes and millipedes.

There are 11 living and 3 extinct orders of arachnids (see photos at left for examples)

    1. Acari - mites and ticks
    2. Amblypygi - tailess whipscorpions/cave spiders
    3. Araneae - spiders
    4. Haptopoda (extinct)
    5. Opiliones - daddylonglegs/harvestman
    6. Palpigradi - microwhip scorpions
    7. Phalangiotarbida (extinct)
    8. Pseudoscorpions
    9. Ricinulei
    10. Schizomida
    11. Scorpions
    12. Solifugae- camel spiders/sun spiders/wind scorpions, solpugids
      1. Global Survey and Inventory of Solifugids
      2. Wikipedia Solifugid Page
    13. Thelyphonida (formerly Uropygidae) - vinegarroons/whip scorpions
      1. Wikipedia Thelyphonid Page
    14. Trigonotarbida (extinct)


Simple key to 8 common arachnid orders (Thelyphonids, Scorpions, Pseudoscorpions, Amblypygids, Opilionids,Acarids, Solifugids and Araneids)

There are 8 jointed walking appendages (legs)

1.a There is a tail .......... go to 2
1.b. There is no tail .......... go to 3

2.a. The tail is slender and needle-like .......... Thelyphonid - vinegarroons/whip scorpions
2.b. The tail is broad and has a stinger .......... Scorpion

3.a. There are a pair of scorpion-like claws .......... go to 4
3.b. There are no scorpion-like claws .......... go to 5

4.a. It is less than 5 mm (1/4") long and dorsoventrally (top to bottom) flattened .......... Pseudoscorpion
4.b. It is 8 to 50 mm (1/3" to 2") long .......... Amblypygid - tailess whip scorpion

5.a. There appears to be one body part and no "waist" .......... go to 6
5.b. There appears to be two body parts and a distinct "waist" .......... go to 7

6.a. Legs are very long and slender compared to the body .......... Opilionid - daddy longlegs/harvestman
6.b. Legs are short compared to the body .......... Acarid - mite or tick

7.a. First pair of legs is much longer than the rest .......... Solifugid - camel spider
7.b. First pair of legs is not much longer than the rest .......... Araneid - spider

Lessons, Activities, Books and Movies

Lessons (for classroom use)

Activities (for outreach or informal educational use)


Childrens' (3 to 18, PreK to 12th)
Type - F (fiction), NF (non-fiction)
Age/Grade Bands - PreK (0 to 4 years), EE (K to 2nd, 5 to 7), UE (3rd to 4th, 8 to 10), MS (5th to 7th, 11 to 13), J/HS (8th to 12th, 14 to 18)

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle - F, PreK, poetical introduction to the role of spiders

Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham - F, PreK to EE, how spiders help the animals at the zoo by keeping flies down

National Geographic Readers: Spiders by Laura Marsh - NF, EE to MS

Are you a Spider (Backyard Books) by Tudor Humphries - F, EE, biology of spiders

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - F, UE to J/HS, classic in children's literature, fantastic elements (talking animals), coming of age, adult themes (death of Charlotte, the spider, sacrifice for others) but an affirming ending.

Children's Guide to Insects and Spiders by Jinny Johnson - NF, PreK (the pictures) to MS

Lynx Tracks: Jumping Spiders (Lynx Tracks Series Book 1) by Joseph Robertia and Lynx Robertia - NF, EE to MS. The Lynx Tracks series aims to inform young readers about species which are easily overlooked, underappreciated, or misunderstood.

Youth to Adult (13 and up, 8th and up)

Spiders and their Kin (Golden Guide) by Herbert W. Levi, Lorna R. Levi, Nicholas Strevolasky (ill.) - NF, handy, pocket-sized guide to spiders with brief descriptions of biology, behavior and ecology.

Common Spiders of N.A.Common Spiders of North America by Richard Bradley (Author) and Steve Buchanan (Illustrator) - Be sure and use the AAS member discount code (30% off!) you should have received in an email. http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520274884



Arachnid News

AAS Facebook Page

British Arachnological Society Website- scroll down to 'Spiders in the News and on the Web'


Arachnid Resources

General Interest


Sites based on Geographic Location

Sites on Taxonomy and Taxa

Arachnological Societies and Meetings

AAS Listserv

The AAS sponsors a listserv where members can post announcements, pose questions regarding arachnids in research, discuss scientific findings, and foster discussions of arachnological research topics. This listserv is not meant as a mechanism for the general public to post questions about “dangerous” spiders in their homes or to post pictures of mystery spiders. Such questions can be sent directly to Jerry Rovner (jsrovner@gmail.com).

If you are interested in joining this Arachnid listserv, follow the instructions below:

Send an e-mail message to:

In the Message Field (NOT the Subject field) write:
SUBSCRIBE arachnid

To unsubscribe to the listserv, send a message to:                       

In the Message Field (NOT Subject):

Listserv Rules:

  1. Keep messages focused on topic and avoid “what is this spider in my basement” messages.
  2. Avoid sending large attachments.
  3. If members post a request for a pdf or some other large file, send the requested pdf directly to that person, not to the listserv.
  4. If offering a pdf, send a link to a site where the document can be uploaded by interested parties or ask interested parties to send you an off-listserv request for the file.
  5. The listserv is setup so that when you reply to a listserv post, both the listserv address and the sender’s address will be in the “To” line. Thus, if you wish to respond only to the individual who sent the original post, you can do so by deleting the ARACHNID@listserv.unl.edu address from the To line.