True or False
"Daddy-Longlegs are one of the most venomous spiders, but their fangs are too short to bite humans"
Many of us have heard this wisdom passed down from generation to generation but is it true?
The answer is no, and also no because...
As for the most obvious no, Daddy Longlegs make their living by eating decomposing vegetative and animal matter although they are opportunistic predators if they can get away with it. They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food. Therefore, they do not have injectable toxins. Some have defensive secretions that might be toxic to small animals if ingested. So, as far as harming humans, this old tale is false.
Another reason this is technically not true is that Daddy Longlegs are not spiders. Though in the arachnid class along with scorpions, ticks, mites, and spiders, their order is Opiliones. True spiders are in the Order Araneae.
One way to tell the difference is by looking at their bodies! Opiliones have a single segment for their head and body, surrounded by 8 creepy-crawly legs. Spiders have two segments for their head and body while still sporting the creepy-crawly leg look.
So, when you next see one of these leggy beauties, feel free to let them crawl all over you...if that's your thing...
Janet Douberly is technically not a spider at Downtown Greens.
This article was published in the January 2023 edition of Front Porch Magazine. To use the full publication, use the link below.