Of all the spiders in Florida, Daddy Long Legs might be the most misunderstood. Some of us laugh at the sight of the little creature’s button body bouncing along on skinny legs. Some of us still think the spider could kill with one bite if it just had a bigger mouth.
Let’s separate spider fact from fiction and look at six surprising characteristics of the amazing Daddy Long Legs.
1. It’s Not Really a Spider
Daddy Long Legs belongs to the Arachnid class of insects, but it’s not technically a spider. It belongs to the arthropod order Opiliones. It doesn’t spin silk or weave webs, it only has two eyes, and it’s closely related to scorpions.
2. Mouth Size Doesn’t Matter
It’s true that the spider’s mouth is very small, but it doesn’t bite because it doesn’t have fangs. It also doesn’t produce poisonous venom, so you don’t need to call spider control when you spot Daddy Long Legs scurrying across the porch.
3. Those Legs Do More Than Walk
If you threaten a Daddy Long Legs, it makes the ultimate defensive move. It sheds one of its namesake legs. That’s enough to distract a predator while the spider sprints away. Unfortunately, its leg never grows back.
4. This Arachnid Has a History
Scientists have discovered fossil remains of Daddy Long Legs that date back more than 400 million years. These spiders were dancing on their long legs about 200 million years before dinosaurs made their debut.
5. It Can Live Almost Anywhere
Daddy Long Legs loves to make its home in our damp Florida soil, but it can thrive anywhere on earth except Antarctica. Down here, the spiders live as long as two years nesting under rocks and rotten wood.
6. Gardens Like Daddy Long Legs
Flower and vegetable gardens actually benefit from small populations of these spiders. Daddy Long Legs’ preferred menu includes mites, small slugs, snails, aphids, and decaying vegetable matter. Their good taste can help keep home gardens healthy and pest-free.
We Understand the Good and the Bad
We really enjoy shining the spotlight on insects that do more good than harm. We’ve provided spider control for Florida homes and businesses for more than 80 years, and Daddy Long Legs is one of our favorites. But if you run into trouble with any of our state’s invasive, destructive pests, we’re ready to help. Here at McCall Service, we understand them all.