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- ETYMOLOGY: Greek onychos (claws) and phoros (bearer).
- COMMON NAME: velvet worms
- DISTRIBUTION: nearly 200 described species, many undescribed terrestrial worldwide in tropical and some sub-tropical regions. live in leaf litter and rotting logsMORHOLOGY: 14-43 pairs of un-jointed legs.
- DIET: Nocturnal predators on small organisms. Shoot gluey liquid from their mouth at potential prey.
- REPRODUCTION: Most dioecous and sexual (one species is known to be parthenogentic) via spermatophores placed on body of female. Her white blood cells then break down the body wall under the spermatophore allowing sperm inside where they migrate through her body to her gonads. Oviparous, ovovivaporous, or viviparous.
- COMMON NAME: water bears
- DISTRIBUTION: over 1000 described species; estimated over 10 times that to exist worldwide (including Antactica) in marine, freshwater, semiaquatic (on wet mosses or lichens) habitats.
- MORHOLOGY: 0.05 - 1.2 mm long. Four pairs of legs and complex feeding apparatus
- DIET: feed on fluids of plant, animal, and fugal cells.
- REPRODUCTION: usually dioecious and sexual but some parthenogenetic or hermaphroditic. oviparous, ovovivaporous, or viviparousIn times of poor environmental conditions, tardigrades can dry out or even freeze (cryptobiosis, still alive but appear lifeless). Their metabolism is undetectable and they don't eat, move, or breathe. During this time they can withstand very high X-ray radiation (e.g., 570 000 rads, 500 is lethal to humans), very high pressures or a vacuum, or temperatures as low as - 272.8°C and as high as 150°C. Water bears sent to outer space and returned to Earth showed similar survival rates to individuals kept in the lab.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER ARANEAE
- ETYMOLOGY: Latin aranea (spider)
- COMMON NAME: spiders
- DISTRIBUTION: nearly 43,000 described species. Worldwide, terrestrial (a few freshwater).
- MORHOLOGY: 0.5 - 90 mm body length. Two body regions, cephalothorax and abdomen. Four pairs of legs. Chelicerae in the form of fangs that are modified to grasp prey and deliver venom. Most have eight simple eyes, but some with fewer. Spiders produce silk from a series of spinnerets at the end of the abdomen.Some spiders have powerful venom that is injurious to humans, causing debilitation necrosis of attacking the nervous system.
- DIET: almost exclusively carnivorous (one known species that eats plant parts).
- REPRODUCTION: dioecious and sexual. Oviparous. Males transfer sperm with pedipalps. Some species practice brood care by the female.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER ARANEAE, FAMILY THERAPHOSIDAE
COMMON NAME: tarantulasThe largest spiders are tarantulas. Some are large enough to kill and eat small vertebrates. Note the large chelicerae (the fangs) that, in tarantulas, are oriented vertically.These, particularly the females, are relatively long-lived and make hardy and interesting pets.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER AMBLYPYGIDA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek amblys (dull, blunt) and pyge (rump).
- COMMON NAME: whip scorpions
- DISTRIBUTION: 130 described species (none in California) Worldwide, mostly tropical; some in southern North America. Usually found under bark or stones, in leaf litter, or in burrows or caves.
- MORHOLOGY: 5-60 mm long. Dorso-ventrally flattened with wide cephalothorax and eight eyes. Four pairs of legs, the first pair are and function as feelers. Large, pincerike and toothed pedipalps for capturing prey and masticating chelicerae.
- DIET: nocturnal predators on other arthropods.
- REPRODUCTION: dioecious and sexual.. Male deposits spermatophore that is picked up by female with her genitalia. Female broods eggs (oviparous) held under abdomen, young later carried on back of female.These ominous looking arachnids have no venom glands and neither sting nor bite. They do not spin silk.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER UROYPYGIDA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek oura (tail) and pyge (rump).
- COMMON NAME: vinegaroons
- DISTRIBUTION: over 100 described species (none in California) Worldwide in tropical and subtropical habitats, including southern North Amrerica, except Europe and Australia. Only one introduced species in Africa. Found in humid, dark places such as burrows or in rotten logs.MORHOLOGY: 25-85 mm long. Long, tail-like projection at end of body.lattened with wide cephalothorax and eight eyes, two at the front of the cephalothorax and three on each side of the head, a pattern also found in scorpions.. Four pairs of legs, the first pair very long, whiplike, and function as feelers. Large, pincerike and toothed pedipalps for capturing prey and masticating chelicerae.
- DIET: nocturnal predators on other arthropods.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual. Male deposits spermatophore that is picked up by female with her genitalia. Female stays with the eggs (oviparous) until they hatch. The young are later carried on back of female where they hold on with special suckers.These ominous looking arachnids have no venom glands and neither sting nor bite, but they do produce acetic (in vinegar, hence their common name and octanoic acid that they can spray and disperse with their tails when bothered.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER ACARI
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek akari or Latin acarus (mite).
- COMMON NAME: ticks and mites
- DISTRIBUTION: about 50,000 described species, many undescribed (maybe 1 million species).Worldwide in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Very numerous in soil. freshwater, semiaquatic (on wet mosses or lichens) habitats.
- MORHOLOGY: 0.08 - 20 mm long. Two body segments, prosoma (cephalothorax) and opisthosoma (abdomen). Adults with four pairs of legs and mouthparts adapted for piercing, sucking, or sawing.
- DIET: feed on fluids of plants and animals.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous.Larvae usually six-legged. Many are parasitic on invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Some are important plant pests. Some are important pests and vectors of human disease e.g., chiggers, scabies (mange in other animals); Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Relapsing Fever, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever, Babesiosis, Tick Paralysis, etc.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER OPILIONES
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek akari or Latin acarus (mite).
- COMMON NAME: harvestmen, daddy long legs
- DISTRIBUTION: about 6,500 described species. Worldwide, except Antarctica, in terrestrial habitats.
- MORHOLOGY: small, few mm to cm or so long body with very long, thin legs. Two body segments, prosoma and opisthosoma broadly fused. Four pairs of legs. Chelicerae, are pincer-like and adapted for maceration. Some have scent glands that produce a smelly fluid.
- DIET: predaceous on insects and other arthropods, or on dead plant of animal tissues.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous. Some exhibit male care of eggs.Often encountered in masses in secluded places such as tree hollows or shaded cliff sides. They do not spin silk and do not have fangs like spiders and are not venomous.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER SCORPIONES
- ETYMOLOGY: Latin scorpio from Greek skorpios (scorpion).
- COMMON NAME: scorpions
- DISTRIBUTION: about 1,400 described species. Worldwide, except Antarctica, in terrestrial habitats except high tundra.
- MORHOLOGY: 9-21 cm with three body segments, prosoma and opisthosoma that is divided into the mesosoma and metasoma (tail) that bears a sting. Four pairs of legs. Pedipalps in the form of claws. Chelicerae, are also pincer-like and adapted for maceration.
- DIET: predaceous on insects and other arthropods.
- REPRODUCTION: Primarily dioecious and sexual via a spermatophore deposited by male and picked up by femlale's genital opercula with help from male positioning females body; some species with parthenogenetic females. Oviparous with young typically ride on female after hatchingMany scorpions glow in the presence of ultraviolet light. All posses venom and can sting. Some are even dangerous to humans
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER PSEUDOSCORPIONIDA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek pseudos (false) and Greek skorpios (scorpion).
- COMMON NAME: pseudoscorpions
- DISTRIBUTION: about 3,400 species, 420 United States. Terrestrial worldwide under bark, in leaf litter, caves, and sometimes in homes. Often encountered hitching a ride (phoresy) on insects.
- MORHOLOGY: usually < 3mm. Two body regions, prosoma and opisthosoma. Four pairs of legs and small, pincer-like pedipalps. Chelicerae pincer-like and for maceration. No tail as in scorpions. Most have poison glands on pincers that use to subdue prey.
- DIET: Predaceous on other small arthropods. Can immobilize prey with poison produced on pedipalps. Some digestion takes place before feeding via a corrosive fluid they put on captured prey. They then ingest liquefied remains.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; ovoviviparous. Young look like adults; molt three times. Male deposits spermatophore that is picked up by female. Some species with elaborate courtship.Some are phoretic on other insects. Can spin silk from gland near mouth. Some found in homes, often associated with old books (book scorpions).
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ARACHNIDA, ORDER SOLFUGIDA
- ETYMOLOGY: Latin sol (sun) and Latin fug (flee).
- COMMON NAME: sun scorpions, sun spiders, sun scorpions, camel spiders
- DISTRIBUTION: over 1000 described species; about 200 in North America. Worldwide in terrestrial habitats, typically warm arid placesMORHOLOGY: body up to 70 mm long. Four pairs of legs, elongate, feeler-like pedipalps, pincer-like chelicerae modified for prey capture and maceration.
- DIET: Nocturnal predators on other arthropods.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous. Eggs laid in borrow or protected depression.Do not sting and lack venom, but can bite with chelicerae in defense.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS MALACOSTRACA, ORDER ISOPODA
- [Lots of these are marine (4,500 species], information below is for terrestrial and freshwater ones we a concerned with]ETYMOLOGY: Greek isos (equal) and Greek podos (foot).
- COMMON NAME: sowbugs, pillbugs, woodlice, roly-polys
- DISTRIBUTION: 5,000 terrestrial species, 500 freshwater. Worldwide. Terrestrial ones usually in damp places as need moisture to respire.
- MORHOLOGY: 2 to over 300 mm (some marine ones). Most terrestrial ones around 1 cm. 11 body segments with seven pairs of legs. Two pairs of antennae. Eyes sessile.
- DIET: Nocturnal detritivores, mostly feeding on dead plant matter but some will also eat living plant parts.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; ovovivaporous, fertilized eggs retained in marsupium on underside of body.This group is the most successful group of terrestrial crustaceans. Respire through gill-like lungs on pleopods near rear of body.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS CHILOPODA
- ETYMOLOGY: Latin centi (hundred) and Latin pedis (foot).
- COMMON NAME: centipedes
- DISTRIBUTION: about 3000 described species; estimated about 8000 species exist. Worldwide and terrestrial. Often encountered in rotten logs, under stones, or other secluded places.
- MORHOLOGY: 10-300 mm long. Generally dorso-ventrally flattened with 15-191 pairs (one pair per body segment) of legs, the front pair modified as venom-delivering, opposable fangs (called forcipules); the last pair of legs extends backwards. One pair of antennae and variable number of eyes. Some cave dwellers lack eyes.
- DIET: Primarily predaceous on other arthropods, some large enough to feed on small vertebrates.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous. Males deposit spermatophores picked up by females sometimes during courtship where male encourages female to engulf spermatophore. Some show parental care, guarding eggs and young.Always possess an odd number of pairs of legs, so none have 100 legs. Always found in moist micro-habitats because they lack the waxy cuticle (that helps retain water) of insects and arachnids.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS CHILOPODA, ORDER SCUTIGEROMORPHA, FAMILY SCUTIGERIDAE
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Scutigera coleoptrata (Linnaeus, 1758)
- COMMON NAME: House Centipede
- DISTRIBUTION: Native to Mediterranean region but has spread throughout much of Europe, Asia, and North America. Found in dark, protected microhabitats. Commonly encountered in and around homes. Usually in dark areas like cellars, basements, and under the house but sometimes end up trapped in bathtubs and showers.
- MORHOLOGY: to 30 mm long with very long, thin, banded legs (15 pairs). The legs have bars that help them hold onto prey.
- DIET: Nocturnal predators on other arthropods.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous. Males deposit sprematophores that are picked up by female. Known to lay up to 150 or so eggs in the spring.Usually considered beneficial as they prey on unwanted pest insects in our homes such as bed bugs, silverfish, spiders, cockroaches, and ants. The mitochondrial genome of this species has been sequenced. They live 3-7 years.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS CHILOPODA, ORDER SCOLOPENDROMORPHA, FAMILY SCOLOPENDRIDAE
- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Scolopendra heros Girard, 1853
- COMMON NAME: Giant Redheaded Centipede, Texas Giant Centipede
- DISTRIBUTION: Central and southwestern United States to northern Mexico. Does not occur in California. Found under logs and rocks and sometimes encountered on ground during the day or hunting at night.
- MORHOLOGY: Our (North America) largest centipede, up to 8 inches long, but usually about 6.5 inches. Bears 21 or 23 pairs of legs. There are many color variants of this species.
- DIET: Nocturnal predators on other arthropods. These are big enough to kill and eat small vertebrates.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous. Female lays eggs in protected cavities in soil or decaying wood and watches over them and juveniles. Young have same number of legs as adults.Large scolopendromorph centipedes can deliver painful bites that can incapacitate people for varying lengths of time depending on factors like age, allergic reactions, and other factors. There are no unequivocal, recorded instances of human death from the bite of any centipede.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS SYMPHYLA
- ETYMOLOGY: Latin sym (together) and Greek phulon (tribe).
- COMMON NAME: symphylans
- DISTRIBUTION: about 200 described species. Encountered in soil and leaf litter.
- MORHOLOGY: 1-8 mm long. Resemble small centipedes. Well developed head with one pair of prominent antennae. Newly hatched larvae with only six pairs of legs, but this number increases as they grow and molt. Symphylans are unpigmented and lack eyes.
- DIET: Apparently feed on fungi and roots and probably decaying plant and animal material.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual. Males deposits spermatophores. Spermatophores picked up by female in her mouth. After laying eggs, she smears sperm on eggs to fertilize them.Symphylans live up to 4 years and molt throughout their life. Produce silk from the last (second to last?) body segment.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS PAUROPODA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek pauros (small) and Greek pous (foot, leg).
- COMMON NAME: pauropods
- DISTRIBUTION: over 500 described species, probably thousands more undescribed. Worldwide and terrestrial. Encountered in soil and leaf litter.
- MORHOLOGY: 0.5-2 mm long. First instar larva has three pairs of legs, but adults have 9-11 pairs. They have no eyes but have a single pair of once- or twice-branching (distinctive for this group) antennae.
- DIET: Apparently feed on fungi and decaying plant and animal material.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and usually sexual, some parthenogenetic; oviparous. The eggs go through a pupa-like stage before they hatch.Not very much is known about their behavior or biology.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS DIPLOPODA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek diplous (double) and Greek pous (foot, leg).
- COMMON NAME: millipedes
- DISTRIBUTION: about 7,000 described species; estimated about 80,000 species exist. Worldwide and terrestrial. Encountered in rotten logs, under stones, or in leaf litter.
- MORHOLOGY: 3-270+ mm long. Generally rounded in cross-section but some dorso-ventrally flattened 25-189 body segments (not counting head or tail) and with 47-375 pairs (two pairs per body segment except first three segments that have one pair each) of legs. One pair of antennae. Eyes consist of multiple, grouped ocelli on the front/side of the head. Some cave dwellers lack eyes.
- DIET: Primarily feed on decaying plant material but some eat live plants others occasionally carnivorous.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous. The genital openings are on the third body segment; males have modified legs (gonopods) on seventh segment for transferring sperm. Eggs are laid on moist soil or organic debris; some construct nests where eggs are laid.Millipedes gain segments as they grow and molt. Many emit foul-smelling or poisonous (cyanide) substances to deter predators. Many of the latter are aposematically colored. They cannot bite, pinch, or sting. Among the first animals to colonize land, some 430 million years ago.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ENTOGNATHA, ORDER DIPLURA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek diplo (two) and Greek ura (tail).
- COMMON NAME: diplurans
- DISTRIBUTION: about 1000 described species. Worldwide in soil, humus, and leaf litter.
- MORHOLOGY: 2-5 mm long. Three pairs of legs (Hexapoda). Long antennae and a pair of caudal cerci. No eyes or wings.
- DIET: some predaceous on small, soil arthropods, others feed on decaying plant matter.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous with external fertilization. Male produce and deposit up to 200 spermatophores a week that may be collected by female to fertilize eggs that are laid in a cavity in the ground.Mouthparts enclosed within head capsule. Some can shed their cerci and are the only terrestrial arthropods that can regenerate lost appendages as they molt. Molt up to 30 times over lifetime.
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ENTOGNATHA, ORDER PROTURA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek proto (first) and Greek ura (tail).
- COMMON NAME: proturans
- DISTRIBUTION: nearly 800 described species. Worldwide in soil, moss, and leaf litter.MORHOLOGY: < 2 mm long. Three pairs of legs (Hexapoda), the front pair used like feelers, not for walking. No eyes, wings, antennae, or cerci.
- DIET: probably feed on decaying vegetable matter and fungi; some may suck out fluids from fungal hyphae.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous.Mouthparts enclosed within head capsule. Anamorphic development (segments added during moults; nine abdominal segments in larva, 12 in adult).
PHYLUM ARTHROPODA, CLASS ENTOGNATHA, ORDER COLLEMBOLA
- ETYMOLOGY: Greek kolla (glue) and Greek embolon (peg, stopper).
- COMMON NAME: springtails
- DISTRIBUTION: about 9000 described species. Common worldwide in soil, humus, and leaf litter. Some freshwater.
- MORHOLOGY: < 6 mm long. Six or fewer abdominal segments and have a tubular appendage (collophore; this is what word collembola refers to) projecting from the first abdominal segment that bears eversible vesicles. Three pairs of legs (Hexapoda). Possess a pair of antennae and most have an abdomial, tail-like appendage called a furcula that is usually folded beneath the body but that can be used to propel the springtail's body. No eyes or wings.
- DIET: primarily detritivores feeding on decaying plant matter.
- REPRODUCTION: Dioecious and sexual; oviparous with external fertilization. Male produce and deposit spermatophores that may be collected by female to fertilize eggs.Mouthparts enclosed within head capsule. Some enter homes in large numbers and are viewed as pests. Some, "snow fleas," encountered crawling over snow on warm, winter days. Amount most abundant macroscopic organisms (estimates of 100,000 per cubic meter of topsoil)