Have you ever taken the time to learn about the Harvestman?
With a passion for Better Bugs, we decided to share with you a little about this better spider.
As we began to research this critter, we soon realized there were many qualifiers to understand. The quick solution, contact a credible source for help. As such, we turned to our friend Debbie Hadley who has answered more than one questions for us about insects.
In fact, that is exactly who Debbie Hadley is, the credible source for the informative site, About Insects
As such, we interviewed Debbie to learn more.
Helen – Debbie, I see there is more than one spider referred to as a daddy longlegs. Can you please tell me what I have in the photo?
Debbie – You do, indeed, have a daddy longlegs, also called a harvestman. People use the name daddy longlegs to refer to three different bugs: harvestman, cellar spiders, and crane flies. The harvestman is an arachnid, but is not a true spider. It belongs to the order Opiliones.
There are several differences between harvestmen and spiders. First, the harvestman’s body is fused together into one section. Spiders have a distinct separation between the abdomen and the cephalothorax. The harvestman has just two eyes (visible in your photo as a tiny pair of black dots near the front end), while spiders have eight. Harvestmen do not produce silk, while spiders do. Perhaps the most interesting distinction is that harvestmen males have penises. Spiders use an indirect method of sperm transfer, and don’t have penises!
Worldwide, there are over 6,400 species of Opilionids living in all kinds of habitats. Many are omnivorous, feeding on small insects, bits of plants, and even fungi. Some scavenge decaying plant material, dead insects, or even feces. Many people believe that daddy longlegs are highly venomous, but have fangs too short to puncture human skin. This is entirely false. Harvestmen are not venomous at all, and can do no harm to people or pets. They’re quite beneficial arachnids, actually.
Thank you Debbie for your help to identify and learn about daddy longlegs.
Check out these two stories by Debbie on daddy longlegs:
You can follow Debbie Hadley on Twitter @Aboutinsects
I have found that a quick tweet to Debbie with a photo resulted in answers faster than Google!