Entomological Review

, Volume 92, Issue 6, pp 688–713 | Cite as

Dormant stages and their participation in adjustment and regulation of life cycles of harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones)

  • V. N. Belozerov


Information on seasonal adaptations in the life cycles of harvestmen (order Opiliones) summarized in this review reveals a great diversity of these arachnids with respect to duration, voltinism, and phenology of their life cycles, as well as to the number and ontogenetic position of the dormant stages required for survival during the winter season and also for synchronizing development with seasonal climate rhythms. Most harvestmen have stenochronous development with univoltine life cycles synchronized by arrest of development in hibernating eggs or (rarely) diapausing nymphs and adults. The number and arrangement of dormant stages represent stable species-specific traits, with some rare cases of interpopulation differences (e.g., in Phalangium opilio). Eurychronous harvestmen exhibit the year-round occurrence of main ontogenetic stages which show equal abilities for either active development or quiescence (depending upon the external factors). Two alternative types of development arrest are common in univoltine opilionids: (1) diapause induced at the early stage of embryogenesis and terminated during cooling (in Opilio parietinus and eleven other species) with transformation into postdiapause quiescence; (2) cold quiescence enforced by low temperatures at the last stage of egg development just before hatching (in Phalangium opilio and four other species). In conclusion, the systems of seasonal adaptations in Opiliones are compared with those in other arachnids, insects, and crustaceans. Some promising directions in the study of seasonal adaptations in opilionid life cycles are suggested.


Entomological Review Acarine Dormant Stage Annual Life Cycle Seasonal Adaptation 
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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. N. Belozerov
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia

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