Spider, Eldon Hill Pond 13/06/20 (Andy Gregory)

Arachnids (spiders, scorpions and their relatives)

About arachnids

The arachnids  group includes spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, mites and their relatives. Unlike insects, they have 4 pairs of legs, have never had wings and their bodies are never clearly divided into 3 regions.

Spiders are the most familiar arachnids and, with the exception of the mites, the largest arachnid group. Their bodies are in 2 parts, the cephalothorax at the front and the abdomen behind (unlike the harvestmen, which have single part bodies). All species are predatory, all are venomous to a greater or lesser degree (although none in Britain are in any way dangerous to humans), and many spin silken webs or elaborate snares to trap their prey. Silk is also used to wrap their eggs, wrap their prey, and to make shelters and life-lines

The British species are broadly divided into web-spinning spiders, hunting spiders and crab spiders (which lie in wait in flowers and elsewhere and pounce on prey when it arrives).

Scorpions are as yet absent from Britain but occur in Southern Europe.

Harvestmen are a large order of arachnids that are often confused with but are not closely related to spiders. They are often commonly know as ‘daddy longlegs’ or ‘grand daddy longlegs’, but these names are also used for only distantly related groups of arthropods, such as crane flies. They are not venomous, have no silk glands and do not spin webs. Many species are omnivorous.

Ticks and mites are a large and heterogeneous group of arachnids, mostly very small and globular with short legs. Ticks are parasitic and some species of blood-sucking ticks can carry and transfer diseases to humans through their feeding. Many of the mite species are carnivorous and predatory on smaller lifeforms.

Spiders and other arachnids in the High Peak

For these buttons with the solid borders to work properly you will need to be registered and logged into iNaturalist. This is a free and extremely useful app. See our ‘How to record wildlife’ page for more information and tips on how to use it.

Takes you to the up-to-date list and photo galleries of all spider observations within the High Peak area, as recorded on iNaturalist

Takes you to the up-to-date list and photo galleries of all spider observations within the ‘Buxton polygon’ area, as recorded on iNaturalist and collected by the Buxton Biodiversity Recording Group project

This button will take you to our gallery of photos taken by BFC members and friends of High Peak spiders and other arachnids 

Identifying arachnids

Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe

Michael Chinery


A very good portable field guide, that includes a section on arachnids at the end.

Information and guidance

Websites and other links