January 16, 2019
I bet you thought daddy longlegs are spiders. They're not.
Yes, they are arachnids, but so too are mites, ticks, scorpions and other eight-legged creatures. Daddy longlegs belong to the order Opiliones and are more closely related to mites or scorpions than spiders.
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Today's Random Fact:
A common urban myth is that daddy longlegs have the most toxic venom of all spiders but their fangs are too small to bite. We now know that these critters aren't even spiders, and to thoroughly debunk the myth, daddy longlegs don't have venom glands or even fangs. So no, if you come across a daddy longlegs in the garden, you aren't looking at a deadly creature.
More features that set daddy longlegs apart from spiders are that they don't form webs, or even make silk. They also have a pill-shaped body, without the "waist" that spiders have between body segments. They have just two eyes - not eight - and they can each chunks of food, not just liquids.
Sure they have long legs, but they aren't really into running away when faced with danger. Daddy longlegs will just curl their legs in and play dead if they're disturbed. The hope is that along with their excellent camouflage color, a predator won't be able to see them if they aren't moving. They'll play dead for several minutes, just to be sure they're out of danger.
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