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Nature & Environment

Is the daddy longlegs really the world's most venomous spider ?

By T.K. Randall
January 18, 2022 · Comment icon 21 comments

Just how dangerous is this thing ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Alvesgaspar
It's a claim that has been doing the rounds for years, but just how accurate is it ?
According to the urban legend, the daddy longlegs is the most venomous spider on Earth but it has fangs that are so small that it is unable to actually bite you.

In reality, however, there is a lot wrong with this idea.

First of all, we have to define exactly what type of animal we are talking about. The name 'daddy longlegs' can be used to refer to several different critters, not all of which being spiders.

In some places, such as in the UK, 'daddy longlegs' is a name typically given to a type of large cranefly that can often be found flitting around the house during the summer months.
Unsurprisingly, it's completely harmless to humans and of course, isn't actually a spider at all.

The name can also be assigned to the harvestman - a type of arachnid (so we are getting closer) - however it doesn't actually have any fangs or venom glands.

In fact the only creature referred to as a 'daddy longlegs' that is actually a venomous spider is the cellar spider - an arachnid with very long legs and fangs similar to those of a brown recluse.

But does it have the most venomous bite on Earth ?

The answer is simply, no, it doesn't. While it can bite, it's not particularly dangerous and there are spiders with far more potent venom than the cellar spider.

In other words, the idea that the daddy longlegs is the most venomous spider on Earth is nonsense.

Source: Live Science | Comments (21)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by brokenbutcher2016 2 years ago
#4 True 100%. Even the back widow, Which bit me 4 times as it was hanging out in my Motorcycle helmet and after a short ride I removed the helmet and hung it up. 45 min later I began to look like I went a round with  Mike Tyson. Never anything beyond a few swollen areas of my head, I was dubbed "spider biker" by friends for weeks.. The spider did not make it. She was crushed up pretty bad.. . ..I would have bitten me to..
Comment icon #13 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
It might have been because the daddy long legs was a faster weaver than the black widow.    That is a really interesting experiment. When I moved in to a newly built house in the desert I had all kinds of varmits coming in under the cracks.  A snake went into my pantry and then in the wall.   It was a garden snake so I didn't worry about it.   One day I found a big centipede in the bathroom when I was getting ready for work.  I just took an empty tupperware container and scooped it up, put the lid on it and left it.    That night I came home and found a scorpion in the bathroom so I gr... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by llegendary 2 years ago
Wait. That's not what we consider a daddy long legs, and the legend has it that it is the most venomous spider, but yet it can not bite you. So I'm confused with this whole thing.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
This is what I call a daddy long legs.  I looked up photos of daddy long legs spider on the web and this is the only one I have ever seen in my neck of the woods. No fangs, and they are tiny, body about 1cm in diameter, make a lot of webs. 
Comment icon #16 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 2 years ago
The only 'daddy long legs' with venom are spiders of the Pholcus genus, the cellar spiders. They're not that venomous, though, and pose no danger to humans, but it's false that they can't bite you at all. I truly wish that myth would die. If bitten, however, you'll only experience maybe some redness or itching around the site of the bite. The animal that Desert Rat posted is a harvestman, which aren't actually spiders and possess no venom and don't build webs Thus far, the only spiders in the US of any medical significance are widows (Latrodectus) and recluses (Loxosceles). A bite may not be f... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
That picture I posted is the closest I could find of the daddy long legs we have.   So, I chose something that wasn't a spider, but the ones we have are spiders, with tiny brown, round bodies and long legs.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Seti42 2 years ago
Daddy Long Legs still creep me TF out. We had a lot of the cellar spider variety in the house I grew up in, and they made their way into my early childhood nightmares. I still have an arachnophobic response when I see one that doesn't always apply to other types of spiders. Another one I hate (and flinch when I see) are the house centipedes.
Comment icon #19 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 2 years ago
I first saw house centipedes visiting my great aunt in Missouri (also my first tarantulas and scorpions in the wild) and even being an invertebrate friendly person, they still creeped me right out. House centipedes aren't prone to bite at all and aren't very venomous, but the speed and all those legs moving still made this arachnid lover nervous  However, I should warn that those living more westward in the US treat centipedes with extreme caution. Some, like the giant desert centipede, an animal you don't hear much about, can have an incredibly painful bite that may warrant a visit to the ER... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Dejarma 2 years ago
yes it is... this has been known for years- well facts: apparently it's a fact but who really knows? i just go by what i've read 
Comment icon #21 Posted by Nnicolette 2 years ago
I have long since noticed that there are two distinctive varieties here. I call one the friendly one because of its round bumbling nature and the other the aggressive kind. The aggressive kind have longer thinner and pointier bodies and appear aggressive because of thier fast movement and attacks. I havent seen reference to subspecies from anyone else but they are very clearly different.

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