There are some 30 different species of harvestmen (Opiliones) in the UK. This interactive guide is a resource for anyone who wants to identify a harvestman and/or learn about the features that can be used to separate the different taxa in the field.
Click on the name of any taxon to read about its identification features and its field characteristics. Use the image control to scroll through images of that species (mostly supplied from the comprehensive collection of Paul Richards). Move your mouse over the images to see the browsing controls (use a long-press on touch devices). You can use your mouse wheel to zoom an image and recentre by dragging.
The keys presented here are not traditional dichotomous keys, but rather interactive multi-access keys (sometimes called polyclaves or lateral keys). They allow you to enter the characters that describe your harvestman without dictating which characters you must use or the order in which to specify them. Here we present three different multi-access keys, but actually they all work in exactly the same way and give the same results, the differences are in the way they visualise those results.
But the keys aren't just useful for trying to identify a specimen, they are a way that you can explore and visualise the knowledge-base that lies behind the key; just by playing with it, you can learn about which species have character states in common and which ones differ.
All the interactive tools on this web application are provided by the TomBio ID Framework. This website is just a lightweight web app providing an interface to the ID Framework, which is itself being driven by a knowledge-base on harvestmen compiled by Richard Burkmar and Paul Richards.
The ID Framework is an open-source project - a product of the FSC's Tomorrow's Biodiversity project funded by Esmee Fairbairn between 2013 and 2017 inclusive. FSC plans to continue development on the project through 2018 and beyond.
Watch the video below for a tour of this website and its features. You can play the video at 'fullscreen' size by clicking on the fullscreen icon in the bottom right once playing. Alternatively you can find this video on our YouTube channel.
Biodiversity Projects Team
Field Studies Council
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