Sunday, November 4, 2018

HumBug: Who's Your Daddy Longlegs?

Posted By on Sun, Nov 4, 2018 at 8:38 PM

click to enlarge Daddy longlegs Nelima passleri with eyes like a tiny turret. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Daddy longlegs Nelima passleri with eyes like a tiny turret.

As soon as the UPS delivered my newest camera lens, I had to go a hunting. Since it's fall, many insects are gone until next year but there's always something interesting out there.

Today was no exception. Before I even got out the door, I noted a daddy longlegs on my window screen. It only took a ladder and a couple of strenuous yoga poses to get the shot, but the lens performed well.

click to enlarge Cellar spiders are sometimes called "daddy longlegs" but are not closely related. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Cellar spiders are sometimes called "daddy longlegs" but are not closely related.

The name “daddy longlegs” is often applied to other creatures that are not closely related, such as crane flies and cellar spiders.
click to enlarge Crane fly, also not related but sometimes called "daddy longlegs." - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Crane fly, also not related but sometimes called "daddy longlegs."
The arachnid family of opiliones can be differentiated from spiders in that their body/head is a single structure and they only have two eyes perched on top of their body like a little turret. The story that they posses the world's most toxic venom but fangs too small to pierce human skin is false. They have no venom or fangs. Unlike spiders, they can actually ingest solid food. No known species of opiliones posses silk glands so they do not spin webs. According to the literature, their eyes cannot form images so they use their extra long second pair of legs as feelers.
click to enlarge Daddy longlegs under black light at night. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Daddy longlegs under black light at night.
One variety I've noticed even lights up under black light at night but quickly ran away from it.
click to enlarge Showing the size of the creature next to my hand. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Showing the size of the creature next to my hand.
The locally common Nelima passleri has the most extraordinarily long legs of any I've seen. Members of this species sometimes congregate in large numbers. I can attest that a hundred or so of them scurrying about your head after a cluster has fallen on you can indeed induce the freakout response.
click to enlarge A smaller cluster. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • A smaller cluster.
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