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Year of the Daddy Long-Leg

07 Jul

If there was a year dedicated in insects, 2015 would be the year of the Phalangium opilio (Arachnida: Opiliones, Phalangiidae) AKA Harvestman, Daddy long-legs or Harvest Spiders. They are EVERYWHERE this year!

This time of year, July, they are still immature so not as tall and big as they are full grown. But this just means they can find more places to hide, like under the latch of the shed door, in the silverware drawer, between the curtain and the windows and in every inch of the garden (this last place is a good thing).

Contrary to popular belief, they are not deadly poisonous to people, but they do have short fangs. They use these fangs to inject poison into their prey.

daddy long legThey are predators on insects, thus good for the garden and home, good to eat all those dust mites under your couch. Since they have no spinning organs, they don’t spin webs, no cobwebs from these spiders. Also if you look close, they don’t have antennae. But instead use their second set of legs as they would antennae. Do check it out next time you see one, it will feel around with that second set of legs, which is cool to watch and cannot be unseen.

If you find these delicate creatures in your house, scoop them up, yes you can use your hands, they won’t bite humans and release them outside. They are the good ones.

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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in backyard science, insects, Nature Curios

 

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