Thursday, January 6, 2011

Myths and Misconceptions #1: Daddy Long Legs

I thought is would be cool to theme some posts, theme number 1: Myths and Misconceptions.
The first in this series is a relatively simple one: daddy long legs.

So I bet you have heard the statement “The daddy long leg spider has the most poisonous venom in the world but it can’t bite through your skin because its fangs are too short” or some variation on that.

This is a common myth that is incorrect on several counts. While it is true that daddy long legs cannot hurt you is it not because they are incapable of injecting poisonous venom into your skin.

First, the North American “Daddy Long Leg” is actually the harvestmen which is not a spider at all, though it is an arachnid. It is important to note that there are 2 other animals that can also be referred to as the daddy long leg; the cellar spider and the crane fly, both of which are also harmless.

Second, the Harvestmen has no venom glands and is therefore not poisonous. The cellar spider and crane fly do have venom but are unable to deliver a dose large enough to affect humans.

Third, they have no fangs, so I guess the total lack of fangs would mean that they cannot penetrate human skin, since they don’t even exist.

I hope this was informative and I hope that you will send me any myths and misconceptions you are interested in learning more about.


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