Sorting the Daddylonglegses

Before I barrel on with the ending of the dead squirrel thing, I thought I might take another stab at clearing up the daddylonglegs question, since people have asked about it. Basically, three totally different animals have been called by the name dadylonglegs:

1. Spiders of the family Pholcidae. These spiders are notable for their defensive habit of vibrating as if possessed by demons. If you don't believe me, find one in its web, poke it, and see what happens. They are also called cellar spiders, but so are lots of other things, so don't get me started.

2. Crane flies. These guys look like over-sized mosquitoes, but they actually make up their own family of flies.

3. Harvestmen. These look a lot like spiders, but actually belong to a different group of arachnids. In the picture here, you can see that the body is not divided into two different sections, which would be the case with a real spider. These critters are the ones I wrote about yesterday, so scroll down for a couple more pictures of them if the spirit moves you.

None of these animals hurts people. (Yes, I know this is supposed to be the dangerous animal blog; sue me.) All of them come up in versions of a myth. Supposedly, they have some devastating venom, but can't break human skin with their delicate mouthparts. It's not true of any of them. The spider can definitely bite a human, as I somehow managed to get myself bitten once, but it only hurt for a second.



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