How to classify invertebrates

With so many little animals to deal with, some barely visible without a magnifying glass, it’s very important that we classify invertebrates.

One way is to classify them according to their type and their evolutionary relationship to other species.

To do this we use taxonomy – the science of classifying living organisms – to make things easier.

If you want to find out more about how we classify invertebrates into different groups and families as if part of a giant family tree, then download the Basics of Classification pdf.

What is a Daddy Longlegs?

Unfortunately there seems to have been some confusion in the media over Daddy longlegs.

Daddy longlegs is a common name for three types of invertebrates in the UK: the Cellar spider (Pholcus phalangoides), craneflies (Tipulidae), and Harvestmen (Opiliones).

Media reports today appear to have misunderstood a comment from Buglife about the spider Pholcus phalangoides and used it for a story about craneflies.

The Giant cranefly (Tipula maxima) is a native species, it is common in gardens in late summer and is often attracted by lights in houses. The Cellar spider (Pholcus phalangoides) is widespread in England and Wales, it lives almost exclusively in buildings – in houses, sheds, garages and cellars. Pholcus phalangoides seems to be extending its range northwards, possible as a result of a warming climate (or it could be thanks to central heating in houses!).

Neither of species pose any threat to people, they are not ‘invading your homes’ and there is nothing to be worried about!

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