Harvestman – Looks Like a Spider, But Isn’t

We always called these daddy longleg spiders, but they aren’t spiders! Arachnids – yes. Spiders – no. I only figured this out today when I did the research for this post.

They aren’t even the only critters that are called daddy longlegs – cellar spiders and craneflies are called that too.

Bug Bits
Name:  Harvestman
Species:  Phalangium opilio
Native to:  Found in most terrestrial habitats.
Date Seen:  October 2011; August 2013
Location:  North of Calgary, Alberta
Notes:  These arachnids have eight long slender legs and short globular bodies. They don’t have antennae. They don’t spin webs, and they are not venomous.

4 thoughts on “Harvestman – Looks Like a Spider, But Isn’t

  1. We always just called them “Daddy Longlegs” and I remember being told they weren’t spiders when I was young (even though I still didn’t like encountering one in the outhouse at our cottage). I haven’t been one in years – another victim of climate change, perhaps?!?!?!?

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    • From what I’ve read, the Harvestman is called that because they are most common in the fall. They also like higher humidity and are more nocturnal, which is why they are often found in places that meet those needs.
      It seems unlikely that climate change is an issue. Cool Green Science says: “There are thousands of species of Opiliones (which the Harvestman belongs to) around the world on every continent except Antarctica. Some incredibly well-preserved specimens in amber reveal that the Opiliones have remained largely unchanged for around 400 million years.”

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  2. I’m thankful I was taught as a child to be kind to the granddaddy longleg spiders.
    It’s interesting the same slang words used to describe different things or the different slang words used to describe the same things. 😉

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    • Really goes to show how localized language can be and how we easy it can be to not understand one another simply based on our location or experience!

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