Opiliones Wiki
Magnispina by Glauco
Magnispina neptunus Mendes, 2011 (Gonyleptidae, Heteropachylinae) male, Brazil - from Laboratory of arthropod behavior and evolution. Copyright © Glauco Machado. Used with permission.






4248 spp[1]

Laniatores is the largest suborder of the arachnid order Opiliones with over 4,200 described species worldwide. The majority of the species are highly dependent on humid environments and usually correlated with tropical and temperate forest habitats.

Laniatores are typically (relatively) short-legged, hard-plated, spiny Opiliones, common under logs and stones, in leaf litter and in caves. They often have spiny pedipalps and paired or branched claws on the third and fourth pairs of legs[1]. The largest family is Gonyleptidae Sundevall, 1833, endemic of the Neotropics, with over 800 valid species and showing many cases of maternal and paternal care.


Dorsal scutum consisting in a single piece, carapace or peltidium entirely fused with abdominal scutum. Pedipalpus usually robust and armed with strong spines. Ovipositor short, unsegmented (derived character state shared with the Dyspnoi). [Penis] complex, with many sclerites, some movable, a single penial muscle present, but mostly penis without any muscles, working by hemolymph pressure.


Organization follows Kury (2013)[2].

Definitions and limits of superfamilies are still in a state of flux. The largest by far is the Gonyleptoidea, with almost 2,500 described species.

There are alternative hypotheses of internal relationships in the Laniatores[3], for example:

1) Synthetonychiidae versus Eulaniatores.

2) Travunioidea versus Trichospilata.

Geographic distribution[]

Distribution of subunits of Laniatores is very interesting from the biogeographic point of view. The Travunioidea are typical of northern temperate regions while the Triaenonychoidea make their counterpart in the southern temperate regions. The other superfamilies are tropical, with many noteworthy endemisms and transcontinental relationships.


Penis may have internal muscle (Insidiatores) or not, in the latter case, it is operated by hemolymph (Grassatores). Ovipositor unjointed.


  1. Kury, A.B. (2000 onwards) Classification of Opiliones. Museu Nacional/UFRJ website. Online at: http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/mndi/Aracnologia/opiliones.html
  2. Kury, A.B. (2013a) Order Opiliones Sundevall, 1833. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal Biodiversity: An Outline of Higher-level Classification and Survey of Taxonomic Richness (Addenda 2013). Zootaxa, 3703(1), 27–33.
  3. Kury, A.B. (2015) Opiliones are no longer the same—on suprafamilial groups in harvestmen (Arthropoda: Arachnida). Zootaxa, 3925(3), 301–340. [Issued 2 Mar. 2015].

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