Science

15 Fascinating Facts About Daddy Longlegs

Daddy longlegs are easily identified with their long legs projecting out from their small round bodies. Here are 15 facts that will change how you look at daddy longlegs.

Daddy longlegs are not spiders

They are more closely related to scorpions! Daddy longlegs don’t produce silk, only have one pair of eyes, and don’t have a ‘waist’ like other spiders, their bodies are fused.

They are not poisonous

They don’t have fangs and cannot produce any venom.

They have been around for a very long time

Scientists in Scotland found a well-preserved daddy longlegs fossil that is believed to be at least 400 million years old.

They are known by another name

Daddy longlegs is the name used in North America, but in other parts of the world they are called “harvestmen” or “shepherd spiders.” Their scientific name is Opiliones.

Daddy longlegs are found everywhere

They live on every continent except Antarctica.

They come in many varieties

Scientists have identified about 10,000 species of daddy longlegs! If one group of these spiders is interrupted by a geographical divide like a new mountain or river, the two populations split and become new species.

They stick together in packs

Scientists aren’t sure why this is true, maybe as a defense strategy.

They don’t move much

They spend most of their lives in small spaces.

They can outsmart predators

Daddy longlegs are hunted by birds, frogs, and lizards. To avoid being eaten, they play dead, use camouflage, or produce a foul-smelling chemical.

They clean themselves

This fastidious spider will get rid of parasites by threading one leg at a time through pincers by their mouths.

They live for a long time

The smaller species can live up to seven years.

Their legs will not grow back

The arachnids will shed their legs voluntarily to avoid predators or in fights, but the legs don’t grow back once they reach adulthood.

It isn’t clear if they are scavengers or predators

Scientists haven’t been able to tell if the daddy longlegs hunts for its meal or just seems to stumble upon it.

No one knows how they reproduce

We do know that conception happens outside the body – the male produces a package of sperm that he gives to the female. After that, who knows!

The males can be sneaky

Some varieties have two types of males, one that looks like the females making it easier to mate (since they can get closer to females without competition from other males).