Hoaxes & Rumors

Are Daddy Long Legs Spiders Poisonous?

Are Daddy Long Legs Spiders Poisonous?

A common rumor claims that daddy long legs spiders are poisonous, but they are not dangerous to humans because their fangs are too short to penetrate human skin.

Sponsored links

It’s a myth.

What are Daddy Long Legs?

“Daddy Long Legs” is a term used by different people in diverse locales to describe a variety of creatures. It could refer to creatures in the Order Opiliones (also known as harvestmen). Another creature known as daddy long legs is the spider in the family Pholcidae, previously known as cellar spiders. In some areas, crane flies are also called daddy long legs.

Small Fangs

Regarding the part of the rumor that daddy long legs have small fangs and therefore cannot penetrate human skin, University of California Riverside entomologists point out that other spiders, such as the brown recluse, have similarly small fangs, and have no problem imparting venom to their human victims.

daddy-long-legs

Are they Poisonous?

According to a webpage devoted to Opiliones on the Orkin website, harvestmen do not have venom glands, and thus cannot be poisonous. Below is a quote from the page:

Unlike spiders, harvestmen aren’t venomous and don’t create silk webs. Unlike spiders that produce venom and deliver the venom via fangs, harvestmen don’t make venom and can’t deliver venom through a bite. This debunks an urban legend that falsely states daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their fangs are too small to penetrate human skin. In fact, harvestmen mouthparts, which they use to hold prey while eating them, are similar to crabs.

In addition, a 2004 episode of Mythbusters (specifically episode 13) attempted to prove or disprove the daddy long legs legend. Host Adam Savage was able to prompt a bite, and reported nothing more than a subtle burning sensation that lasted only a few seconds. Results of the episode can be seen on a webpage at discovery.com as well as on a page from mythbusterresults.com.

There have been no studies regarding the toxicity of the venom of pholcids.

Google Trends History

The Google Trends graph below shows search interest in “daddy long legs poisonous” going back to 2005. Interest seems to have gradually increased, and appears to surge every year around August and September. Curiosity may surge in these months because this is when daddy long legs are most commonly seen.

Bottom Line

The rumor that daddy long legs spiders are poisonous is nothing more than a pervasive urban legend.

Updated January 14, 2015
Originally published October 2013

Sponsored links
Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Hoaxes & Rumors

More in Hoaxes & Rumors

charlie charlie challenge

The Real Mystery Force Behind the Charlie Charlie Challenge? Gravity.

wafflesMay 27, 2015
mcdonald's fries

About that McDonald’s “$1 Fries Any Size” Graphic Circulating Online

wafflesMay 26, 2015
earth in darkness

Debunked: Six Days of Darkness June 2015

wafflesMay 25, 2015
Altered photo of golden snake

Classic Fake Photo: Golden Snake

wafflesMay 22, 2015
rapist

Analysis of “Through A Rapist’s Eyes”

wafflesMay 21, 2015
Fake Wizard of Oz Munchkin Hanging

Classic Urban Legend: Wizard of Oz Munchkin Suicide

NonjoinerMay 20, 2015
fake missing scientist

Fake Story: Missing Scientist Found Hiding in Drug Lab

wafflesMay 18, 2015
Real snake on back of toy truck

Debunked: Giant Snake in the Red Sea

wafflesMay 17, 2015