Summary for Oligolophus tridens (Opiliones)

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National Distribution

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Oligolophus tridens Copyright: Paul Richards
Identification difficulty rating: 3
Name: Oligolophus tridens
Authority: (C.L.Koch, 1836)
Order: Arachnida: Opiliones
Family: Phalangiidae

Records: 3674
First Record: 1890
Latest Record: 2022

1992-on hectads: 505
Pre-1992 hectads: 723
Total hectads: 1097

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About this species

Recorded altitude range
0m to 585m

Species text

This is a very common species although probably not so well known to the general naturalist because of its sombre colours and secretive habits. It was first recorded in Britain from a number of locations including Bloxworth in Dorset (O. Pickard-Cambridge 1890). Its range extends throughout Britain, from Shetland to Cornwall, and is to be found on most of the island groups. Its European distribution includes France, the Benelux countries, Great Britain and Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, the Baltic States, Russia, the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania (Wijnhoven 2009).

Oligolophus tridens is a plain brown harvestman characterised by a rectangular saddle and a row of distinctly pale tubercles around the eyes. It does not have prominent spines on the underside of the palpal femurs as seen in the similar Lacinius ephippiatus.

This species strongly resembles to Oligolophus hanseni but has three trident members with the central one being the longest, rather than the five or more tubercles of O. hanseni trident.

Habitat and ecology
Oligolophus tridens is found up to about 600m in Britain and to 1700m in the Alps (Martens 1978). It is predominantly a ground layer/field layer species often found in woodland but common across many habitats including wetlands and gardens. It is usually found in litter, grass tussocks and under stones and logs, and also climbs walls and can be found in trees and bushes by beating.

The eggs are laid in late summer and autumn, with juveniles present from April to September. Adults are generally found from July until late autumn/early winter.

The species is a nocturnal forager, which makes flexible use of its habitat to exploit prey availability. Juveniles usually feed in the ground layer and live and forage higher up as they mature, making use of whatever food resources are available. Oligolophus tridens is known to eat a very wide range of live and dead invertebrates including springtails, aphids, beetles, flies, woodlice, spiders and snails. They have also been recorded as feeding on plant material, vertebrate corpses and even bird droppings.

Widespread and common.

Text based on: Hillyard, P. D. 2005. Harvestmen: keys and notes for the identification of British species. Synopses of the British Fauna 4 (3rd edn). Field Studies Council, Shrewsbury.


Martens, J. 1978. Spinnentiere, Arachnida: Weberknechte, Opiliones. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands 64: 1-464. Fischer Verlag, Jena.

Pickard-Cambridge, O. 1890. Monograph of the British Phalangidea or harvestmen. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, Sherborne/Dorchester 11: 163-216.

Wijnhoven, H. 2009. De Nederlandse hooiwagens (Opiliones) Naturalis Biodiversity Centre - Entomologische Tabellen, The Netherlands. (translation available here:


 Account last edited by Meg Skinner at 14:38 on Fri 12th Nov 2021.

Adult Season

Adult Season Data (based on 556 records with adult season information)


background methodology

Broad Habitat Data (based on 931 records with habitat information)

Broad subhabitat Data (based on 121 records with subhabitat information)

Structural Habitat Data (based on 989 records with structural habitat information)

Habitat Detail and Method (based on 1051 records with habitat detail and method information)

Recorded management for locations with Oligolophus tridens

Recorded substrate and hydrology for locations with Oligolophus tridens


Oligolophus tridens 1918
Oligolophus tridens 1918
Oligolophus tridens - detail 3
Oligolophus tridens - detail 3
Oligolophus tridens - detail 2
Oligolophus tridens - detail 2
Oligolophus tridens - detail
Oligolophus tridens - detail
Oligolophus tridens 1636
Oligolophus tridens 1636
Oligolophus tridens 1627
Oligolophus tridens 1627
Oligolophus tridens
Oligolophus tridens
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