Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Clarence J. Goodnight

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Brewer

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Engemann

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



Opilionids (Arachnida: Opiliones) are arachnids that have such descriptive common names as harvestmen or daddy longlegs. In the summer and early autumn opilionids become a conspicuous component of the invertebrate fauna; however, as common as these animals are, little attention has been paid to their behavior. Most published research on opilionids deals with their taxonomy.

The intraspecific interactions of opilionids is a significant area or ethology that needs careful examination. Intraspecific interactions fall into three categories reproductive, aggressive, and cooperative behaviors. A knowledge of the reproductive behavior of opilionids is essential for a complete picture or the evolution of behavior among arachnids. Aggression is so poorly understood, that any study that includes a description of aggressive behavior is an important contribution in this area. Cooperative behavior is of interest because of its intimate relationship to social organisation.

This study is an effort to observe and describe the behavior of several species of opilionids found in a mesic forest habitat. The location of the study is a wooded area near the south side or Wolf Lake in Van Buren County, Michigan. Opilionids encountered and included in the study are Leiobunum longipes, L. politum, L. vittatum, and Odiellus pictus.

Included in

Biology Commons