A common name for these long-legged arachnids is “harvestmen”. To most they are simply called Daddy longlegs; yet, on another page, these outdoor critters that live in the ground are not really spiders.  Daddy longlegs is actually one of the Opiliones, more similar to scorpions than spiders.  Although they are arachnids, harvestmen are not spiders. Similar to how a butterfly is an insect, but not a beetle.

What is a Daddy Long Leg Spider?

When we talk about an arachnid, we are referring to a category of arachnids with four sets of legs, and fang-like mouthparts or chelicerae. They also have appendages called pedipalps near their mouth.

Daddy long legs are a member of the arachnid family; yet, they are not really a type of spider but “harvestmen”. They belong to the groups which contain scorpions, mites, and ticks--also called Opiliones. This species is not capable of producing silk for building a web as other arachnids do.

Daddy long legs commonly considered as a type of spider

What is Arachnology?

University students interested in arachnids and their behavior will take a course in Arachnology. Students search for webs and other artifacts to take a photo of. If this is something that also interests you the Australian Museum has the largest collection of arachnology specimens in the southern hemisphere of the world. This museum has more than 500,000 specimens individualized in lots of 149,903.

What is the Scientific Term for a Daddy Longlegs?

Daddy long-legs spider is also known as the Pholcus phalangioides, or a cellar spider with an elongated body.  It belongs to the group of spiders called Pholcidae. Also described as the skull spider because of how its cephalothorax resembles the skull of humans.

How a Daddy Longlegs Differs from the Others

A common belief is that the daddy longlegs is a spider. However, this is incorrect. The major difference is a spider has a body made up of a pair of sections. These sections consist of the cephalothorax, the thorax, and fused head, recognizable by the abdomen. When observing the Daddy long legs you will notice its body shape like an oval--nothing separating it.

The daddy longlegs is not a true spider. They don’t create a web nor do they make silk. The Harvestman is a scavenger; it will search for resources to eat. They survive as they search and explore the earth for plants, small insects, deceased matter (plants or animals), or eggs. Their behavior or defense mechanism is producing a chemical that has a bad odor and taste.

How a daddy longlegs differs from the others

What is a Daddy Longlegs Real Name?

The daddy longlegs spider's real name is “harvestman”--part of the Opiliones. They are in a class of arachnids that contains over 6,000 species. These spider-like critters are recognized for their lengthy, thin legs and bodies that are compact.  They search for insects and plants to eat, which is their preferred menu of sustenance.

Common Myths about Daddy Long Legs Spiders

Urban legend tells the tales that the Daddy long legs have the most powerful venom of any other spider in the world. But their fangs are too tiny to bite human skin. There is no basis to prove any fact to this statement. Let's get on the same page here. The harvestmen do not have any type of venom at all; let alone toxic enough to bite and kill any humans.

There is another myth of urban tales about daddy long legs spiders that is not so toxic. This urban legend talks about if you see one in the evening, it symbolizes good fortune, hope, and happiness.

What is the Difference Between Venomous and Poisonous?

People often confuse these two terms, which can not be used interchangeably. When we say something is venomous, we are describing something that has glands specific for the creation of venom. These glands are ducts that move the venom through the fangs or stingers and into the target of hypodermic introduction.

The term venomous is the way of describing one's anatomy and not necessarily an implication of the complete effect. Many animals are venomous, but their venom is only employable on insect prey and considered harmless to humans.

When something is poisonous, we are stating the organism creates something within the glands normally transferable by ingestion or contact.  A good example is Poison Oak. To human skin, Poison oak creates great damage, yet when a deer eats this so-called poisonous plant there is no harm.

What is a Redback Spider

A native of Australia the redback is what is called an Australian black widow. it is an extremely venomous species of spider. It is found in South Australia and other deserts adjacent to the western part of Australia. The redneck is found in South Asia, New Zealand, and throughout Australia.

A redback spider

Queensland Museum in Australia

The museum in Queensland has an exhibit featuring giant daddy-longlegs. These arachnids are part of the Artema Atlanta, family Pholcidae. This family is identified by their legs that are fine and pin-like. They span out bigger than that of a large hand. Their abdomen is bigger than a pea and the dark-colored legs are 20-30 centimeters. The bugs create a web that has no definite shape, appearing tangled. A bite will create some localized pain. When disturbed this critter will bounce in its web.

What are Daddy Longlegs and Daddy Longlegs Spiders?

A lot of people do not realize these are two different groups of animals. There is the daddy longlegs, and then there are the Daddy longlegs spiders. When talking about the class Arachnida of animals, there are a variety of divisions called Orders.

Their body contains one segment. This part of their body defines the segmentation on the bottom section. All eight of the animal's legs and its pair of eyes are connected to this body shaped like a pill.

What is the Holocnemus pluchei?

There is another animal that we give the moniker as a daddy longlegs and it really is a spider. It is a part of the Pholcidae family. University Arachnologists have dubbed them 'daddy-longlegs spiders’, often referring to them as “cellar spiders.”

Spiders are arachnids, with 2 primary parts to their bodies--the abdomen and cephalothorax. They have eight eyes, normally in a clump at the head of the body. Their abdomen has no signs of segmentation,  all eight legs are connected to the front or cephalothorax. Spiders are capable of spinning a web out of silk. Daddy long legs, commonly considered as a type of spider,  do not spin webs.

The common habitat for this species is in the cellar (the reason for their name), they are most recognized by people.

The Pholcus Phalangioides is one of the most popular spiders discovered in homes of European immigrants and the U.S.  They have bodies with an elongated abdomen that is rectangular and consistently grey coloring. You can find these spiders all over the world and the United States.

The Holocnemus pluchei can also be recognized as having a long abdomen that is rectangular, only on the ventral side it has a stripe of brown. Since a spider normally is seen hanging upside down, this would be the belly-side of the creatures. This Daddy long legs are  most often seen near the Pacific Coast and deserts in the south along with the other type of spider.

Holocnemus pluchei, daddy long legs

Does The Myth About Daddy Longlegs Hold Any Truth?

The Daddy longlegs or Opiliones are arachnids that survive by a menu of animal matter and decomposed vegetation. They can be opportunistic predators if allowed to be. However, they do this sans any venomous glands, fangs, or webs to coerce their prey. These creatures lack any form of toxin for which to inject into another object.

The other type of Daddy long legs spider is the Pholcidae. There is no research or straight fact present that holds any truth or correctness to the myth about this species. We can not refer back to any cases of a pholcid spider bite creating adverse reactions in a human. If indeed this spider is deadly but unable to bite humans there is only one way to find out. The spider would need to have their venom milked from them and then inject it into a human. For several reasons mostly due to a  humanitarian code of life and ethics and Amnesty International, this research has not been completed.

In addition, toxicity to the life of any mammal by Phocidae venom has not been proven via any toxicology studies.  Because there is no scientific research of this spider’s venom is toxic remains what it is--a myth.

What about their fangs unable to get through human skin because they are too short? It is true, a Pholcid does have short fangs. Museum Arachnologists call this “uncate” due to a secondary tooth, resembling a fang. It grabs as much as tongs do. The brown recluse spiders look like having this uncate fang structure, yet they are capable of biting humans.

The difference might have to do with how the fang is housed in the musculature. A brown recluse might have more strength in these muscles. They are able to penetrate human skin due to the fact that they are spiders that hunt and need to coerce their prey.  The phocid spider can contain their prey by wrapping it in a web; therefore, not requiring strength in musculature.

How the Daddy Long Legs Reproduce

Mating between adult Daddy long legs involves the hooking of pedipalps to the back of the female insect's legs. The total process can take about 15 seconds for some species, others may take from three to four hours.

Can Daddy Long Legs Cause a Home Damage?

If you have excessive amounts of moisture or leaky pipes around a home, cellar, or other structure, it will be an attractant to daddy longlegs. However, harvestmen do not create homes with any damage. They might frighten homeowners by their numbers, yet they by no means are dangerous or harmful.

What is a Crane Fly?

In everyday conversations, many refer to crane fly as Daddy long legs or mosquito hawks. The crane fly is another member of the Pholcidae family of spiders. A crane flies larvae are often called leatherjackets.

A crane fly which many refer to as daddy long legs

Is Crane Flies the Same as Daddy Long Legs?

A common name that the British use for a cranefly is Daddy long legs. Crane flies are a species of insects that have wings and long legs. Some confuse these Daddy long legs belonging to the type of house spider. However, they are not spiders. You can find this six-legged insect worldwide.

If You Have a Problem with Arachnids Give Us a Call

If your home or yard is infested by any class Arachnida house spider give us a call. The professionals at A.N.T. Pest Control know what to do about getting rid of pests.  We know how to get rid of arachnids and other pests.

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