Is Daddy Longlegs Actually Most Venomous Spiders Of The World?

You've perhaps heard this playground legend that Daddy longlegs are one of the most venomous spiders in the world, however, their fangs are too small to bite anyone. Is this correct?

The brief answer is no. But to get that answer, we're going to get a few things to straighten up. Mr. Vetter, who is a retired researcher of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, said that, first, what are you calling a daddy longlegs?  Mr. Vetter has been busting this specific myth for many years.

The issue is that the term "daddy longlegs" is used informally to refer to at least three separate kinds of animals, only one of which is really a spider.

In the family Pholcidae, that animal is also recognized as a cellar spider. It has two body frame segments, fangs, and eight eyes, completed with venom ducts and venom glands, like same as most of the different spiders.

Then there are harvestmen, which are arachnids in the order of Opiliones (formerly Phalangida), that are not closely related to spiders. These animals have a single body frame segment with only two eyes, and they also do not have fangs or venom glands.

Mr. Vetter explained the Live Science that Harvestmen have little grabby mouthparts and they appear like little pinchers, which are used to tear apart their prey, mostly dead animals and detritus.

Then finally in the family of Tipulidae, there are crane flies. These insects are not arachnids, and their long bodies and wings make them look like oversize mosquitoes. Crane flies are not spiders but do appear somewhat like spiders due to their long and slender legs. It cannot bite you because many species of crane fly have no mouthparts at all. They exist in their adult stage for a few days just enough time to mate and lay eggs.

Daddy longlegs is not simply one thing. Crane flies have no venom, so for them, this myth is false. Harvestman also does not have venom either, but, they have poison. Where venom is being injected into the target, poison works either by being ingested or via topical contact. When harvestmen are interrupted, they spray or coat themselves in a dark, stinking chemical mixture designed to fend off parasites and predators. However this substance can kill spiders and insects, it is surely not the most toxic poison in the world.

Mr. Vetter stated that left us with cellar spiders, the only real spiders out of the bunch. These spiders could bite humans. Their fangs are the same as the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), which is infamous for its capability of fatal bite to humans.

Mr. Vetter also stated that he is not aware of any books showing that pholcid spiders cause a poisonous effect in humans. In his opinion, one scientist did some work on that, and he had a small black mark for a day or two, but, it was not that big of a deal. It is surely not the most poisonous spider in the world.

The arachnologist Mr. Charles Kristensen had injected mice with the venom of either cellar spiders or black widow spiders. And found that black-widow venom had a much more potent effect.


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