These cluster of hairy dirt is actually a group of insects
We see them almost everyday in our house, but what are they? What are Daddy Longlegs? They are also called harvestmen.
Daddy Longlegs are not spiders or even insect, they belong to a group with many different species, called Opiliones.
Daddy longlegs refers to organisms called harvestmen who are members of the family Phalangiidae. Harvestmen have many names – harvest spiders, shepherd spiders and grandfather graybeards.
The common name, daddy longlegs, likely came about because of its features. Its small oval body and long legs. And they are called harvestmen because they are most often seen in large numbers in the fall around harvest time.
Daddy longlegs have eight legs and an outward appearance of a spider, but they lack two of the most important features of a spider.
They lack silk and venom glands. Without silk glands they never build webs. Spiders produce venom that they inject through their fangs to quickly kill and digest prey, while a daddy longlegs doesn’t produce a venom. But they emit a weird odor when disturbed.
According to myths, daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their chelicerae (mouthparts) are too small to bite people.
During daytime, daddy longlegs can be found in shady areas, on the bark of trees, in basements and crawlspaces and under rocks and logs.
They are mostly nocturnal, but many of them are active during daylight. At night, they primarily search for food.
It is rare to see daddy longlegs in a home’s living spaces. In the northern portions of their range, harvestmen live for only one year, while in the south they may live up to two years. There are at least four species of daddy longlegs that has been found living in Missouri caves.
Daddy longlegs are omnivores, eating a variety of organic material, or scavengers, feeding on feces or carrion, but some are predatory on aphids and other small insects.
|They are known for their extremely long and thin legs and for their compact bodies|
They often feed at night. Their vision is generally poor, and the second pair of legs, which are usually the longest, function as “feelers” as they walk around, like a blind person tapping a cane.
When you see daddy longlegs in your home, you can remove them from structures with a vacuum or broom.