Harmless Daddy Longlegs

Harvestman (Opiliones) at a Rest Area off of I-90 in Pennsylvania (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

14 July 2022

Though daddy longlegs or harvestmen (Opiliones) resemble spiders they are not even closely related to them. Harvestmen are harmless and have many characteristics that set them apart from spiders including:

  • A fused body that appears to be 1 segment. Spiders have a “waist.”
  • A single pair of eyes (2) at center-front. Spiders have four pairs of eyes (8).
  • Cannot make silk. Spiders make silk and spin webs.
  • Cannot regrow a leg that is lost. Spiders can regrow legs.
  • No fangs or venom. Spiders have both.
  • Eat solid food. Spiders have to liquefy their food, then suck it in.

Harvestmen are members of the class Arachnida that includes spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites. Their closest relatives might be mites, though this is in dispute.

Harvestman with mites on legs (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Ironically, harvestmen are sometimes plagued by mites, as shown above and described in this vintage article:

Learn more about harvestmen in this 4-minute video. You may want to watch it more than once. The narrator speaks quickly!

(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

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