The Opiliones or more commonly known as Daddy Long Legs belong to an order of arachnids called the harvestmen. But even if these creatures have spider-like features, they are actually not considered spiders.
Daddy Long Legs are not actually spiders. They’re arachnids, but they’re more closely related to scorpions than spiders. They don’t manufacture venom or silk, and they don’t even have fangs, making them virtually harmless.
Daddy Long Legs Are Not Spiders
Daddy Long Legs are known as Opiliones, they are a type of harvestmen arachnid. But even if they are considered within the same genus as spiders, they’re more closely linked to scorpions than spiders. Opiliones have various traits and features that differ from spiders.
The Opiliones, for example, only have two eyes. They are unable to manufacture silk and are therefore unable to weave webs. They are also devoid of venom glands, rendering them completely harmless to humans. They also have a compact oval-shaped body, unlike other spiders, that have two separate body segments. Although it appears to be one piece, the cephalothorax and abdomen are fused, making the joint difficult to see.
(Source: ZME Science)
Are Daddy Long Legs Beneficial to Humans?
Having Daddy Long Legs in your home is quite beneficial. They act as vacuums for other pests like aphids and they’re great for clearing out fungi and other nasty particles you may see in your home. However, they can be a nuisance in the fall when they start to congregate in large groups on trees and homes. (Source: Home & Garden Information Center)
Is There a Spider with the Same Name?
Fun fact, there is also a spider known as the daddy long legs spider. This adds to the confusion people are already dealing with. These spiders are also known as cellar spiders. They have a pale grey or brown and may have chevron or banding characteristics on their back.
Cellar spiders have six or eight eyes and two different body segments, as do most spiders. They make silk and weave a tangle of uneven webs in corners. The thread they make isn’t sticky, but they let the spider know when the prey has landed on the web. (Source: ZME Science)
Are Cellar Spiders Venomous?
Cellar Spiders are said to be one of the most venomous spiders in the world. However, their fangs aren’t strong or long enough to bite a human.
In the show, Mythbusters, the team investigated this further and discovered that black widow spider venom is far more dangerous than Cellular Spider’s poison. There have been no reports of this spider causing injury to humans. (Source: ZME Science)
What Other Insect Uses the Name Daddy Long Legs?
Crane flies are also referred to as daddy long legs because of their obvious long legs. Despite looking like enormous mosquitos, most adults live for a brief time. This is just long enough to breed.
An adult crane fly resembles an oversized mosquito with a slender body and stilt-like legs. Unlike spiders and the actual daddy long legs, crane flies have wings. (Source: ZME Science)