Arachnid, term for animals in the class including the scorpions, spiders, daddy longlegs, mites, and ticks, and certain other eight-legged land invertebrates. Fossils suggest that arachnids were among the first animals to live on land, perhaps in the early Devonian Period, nearly 400 million years ago. About 60,000 species are known, although many, especially mites, remain undiscovered or undescribed.
Arachnids are found throughout the world in nearly every habitat, but they reach their greatest size and diversity in warm arid and tropical regions. Arachnids are a class of joint-legged invertebrate animals, in the subphylum Chelicerata.. All arachnids have eight legs, and unlike insects, they don’t have antennae.
The bodies of arachnids are divided into two sections, the cephalothoraxes in front and the abdomen behind. No arachnids have wings, although some spiders can float on the wind using long strands of silk.
Many arachnids use silk, either to catch prey or to help them reproduce. Arachnids lay eggs, and have simple development where babies look like small adults and just get bigger as they grow. Some arachnids, especially the mites, change a lot in different stages of their lives. Arachnids are part of a larger group called arthropods , which also includes insects, myriapods, and crustaceans. All arthropods have an exoskeleton and legs that are jointed (arthropod means “jointed foot”). In order to grow, arthropods must shed their whole exoskeleton all at once; this is called “molting.”
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