Aquatic and Land Animal Diversity

Aquatic and Land Arthropods

What is a “daddy longlegs”?

The name applies to a harmless, nonbiting, long-legged arachnid. Also called a harvestman, it is often mistaken for a spider, but it lacks a spider’s segmented body shape. Although it has the same number of legs (eight) as a spider, the harvestman’s legs are far longer and thinner. These very long legs enable it to raise its body high enough to avoid ants or other small enemies. Harvestmen are largely carnivorous, feeding on a variety of small invertebrates such as insects, spiders, and mites. They never spin webs as spiders do. They also eat some juicy plants and in captivity can be fed almost anything edible, from bread and milk to meat, and also need to drink frequently. (The term “daddy longlegs” is also another name for a cranefly—a thin-bodied insect with long legs—and a snoutlike structure with which it sucks water and nectar.)


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