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   Undertoad  Thursday Feb 8 09:51 AM

February 8, 2007: Thousands of daddy-long-leggers



From Neatorama via Something Awful comes this horrible, horrible image, of a clump of these spider-like things - whatever they are. There seems to be some controversy over whether they're spiders or what, but I'm not sticking around long enough to figure it out in detail, thank you very much.



todd_brannigan  Thursday Feb 8 09:57 AM

Looks like a patch of pubes....

Wonder how they taste (spiders, not pubes)?

These are commonly called "harvestmen" and they do congregrate like this occasionally, although I've never seen that amount of concentration.



LabRat  Thursday Feb 8 10:02 AM

Daddy long legs. *memories*
Anyone who has camped around here is intimately familiar with them, as they get into everything. You just grab them by a leg and fling 'em into your neighbors campsite. Or, if you are a pre-pubecent male, pull 1/2 the legs off of one side and watch the poor thing scoot around in a circle.



glatt  Thursday Feb 8 10:03 AM

I always thought they were spiders, but my 2nd grade daughter explained to me patiently last summer that they are not spiders. Kids today are so freaking smart. Anyway, I like daddy long legs. They are cool. I'm always careful around them because they seem so delicate.



LabRat  Thursday Feb 8 10:11 AM

Daddy-Long-Legs
HYG-2060B-04
Susan C. Jones, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Entomology
Extension Specialist, Household & Structural Pests


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daddy-long-legs, also known as harvestmen, are very commonly confused with spiders due to their general appearance and eight legs. However, these tan to brown creatures belong to the order Opiliones and are not spiders, all of which belong to the order Araneae. Although they are close relatives of spiders, daddy-long-legs do not bite humans, and they are not poisonous (they lack venom glands). They do not construct webs.


Class: Arachnida
Order: Opiliones
Common name: Daddy-long-legs or harvestmen Identification
Daddy-long-legs have eight very long, slender legs, although some species have shorter legs. They have an oval, compact, small body (1/16 to 1/2 inch long) that is held well above the ground by the thread-like long legs. Their body appears to be a single unit because the cephalothorax (combined head and thorax) and abdomen are broadly joined (no narrow waist), whereas spiders have a constriction between the cephalothorax and abdomen. Daddy-long-legs should not be confused with cellar spiders, which are found in cobwebs in dark, damp basements, cellars, and crawl spaces. Although cellar spiders have long legs, their body has a constricted waist (see HYG-2060).



Shawnee123  Thursday Feb 8 10:15 AM

As arachnophobic as I am, I am not afraid of daddy long legs. However, that pic of thousands of them has me rethinking my viewpoint. Eeeek



Sundae  Thursday Feb 8 10:25 AM

They're not what we call daddy long legs. We reserve that name for crane flies, which have wings. And lord do they use them on late summer evenings when they find their way in through windows and bump about the room....

I wouldn't be happy to see that amount of anything though - every time I look at the picture it's giving me goosebumps.

From here:



Dypok  Thursday Feb 8 10:40 AM

Kill 'em with fire. Its the only way to be sure.



lumberjim  Thursday Feb 8 10:46 AM

that's a mosquito hawk



Sheldonrs  Thursday Feb 8 10:47 AM

It reminds me of those magnetic toys where you use the magnet to guide the metal particles over the picture of a man to form a beard and hair.



Happy Monkey  Thursday Feb 8 10:52 AM

Close up (warning: big)



Clodfobble  Thursday Feb 8 11:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabRat
...daddy-long-legs do not bite humans...
I was all set to point out that they showed on Mythbusters that they do bite humans... but it turns out that on the show they were testing cellar spiders, not harvestmen (which are both sometimes called Daddy-long-legs, supposedly, but I'd only ever heard of the harvestmen being called that.)


Shawnee123  Thursday Feb 8 11:10 AM

Just the term cellar spiders makes me cringe, no offense to cellar dwellars.



BigV  Thursday Feb 8 11:12 AM

GAH!!

And yes, I can read. Holy moly! What an awesome picture. My new wallpaper. I will never need to lock my keyboard again--no one will come near it.

o/t, I want a camera with that kind of macro capability. Whoa.



Clodfobble  Thursday Feb 8 11:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV
GAH!!
At that size, you can just pretend it's a lobster.


Pie  Thursday Feb 8 12:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
At that size, you can just pretend it's a lobster.
Them's good eatin'.


TheCaretaker  Thursday Feb 8 12:16 PM

That is a way impressive cluster -- my shed usually doesn't sport more'n a dozen at a time.

When I was 12 or so, I woke up with one o' these on my face, right over the eyes. Classic. I'm not usually squeamish, but wound up in the center of the bedroom, all the covers around me. The spider disappeared in the melee.

Last year I'm raking leaves, and every few minutes would have to scratch my neck, or my ear, or my forehead. Finally I take off my hat and a daddy longlegs falls off, glad to be free. I'm thinking, "That guy was waltzing all over my head for like twenty minutes!" Must've looked funny.

Thanks, I'm all itchy now.



Shawnee123  Thursday Feb 8 12:35 PM

Where's the "whole body shudder" smilie?



BigV  Thursday Feb 8 12:42 PM



You're welcome.



charmzny  Thursday Feb 8 01:54 PM

Well, I've learned my something new for the day. I always considered them spiders too. However, that does not mean I don't want them stomped on. Snakes I can handle, bugs, spiders, and other creepy crawlies need to die a horrific, fire-induced death.



Cloud  Thursday Feb 8 02:00 PM

(typing with my eyes closed): EEEEEEEEEK!

I don't CARE if they're not technically spiders.

They are GROSS. and ICKY. and CREEPY!



BigV  Thursday Feb 8 02:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by charmzny View Post
Well, I've learned my something new for the day. I always considered them spiders too. However, that does not mean I don't want them stomped on. Snakes I can handle, bugs, spiders, and other creepy crawlies need to die a horrific, fire-induced death.
ooooooo bad!

Every spider you see is 100 other bugs you don't see. the spider is your friend.


Sheldonrs  Thursday Feb 8 02:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
ooooooo bad!

Every spider you see is 100 other bugs you don't see. the spider is your friend.
"Friends" don't usually crawl between my toes when I am sleeping and bite me.


BigV  Thursday Feb 8 02:53 PM

And just how many bugs do you have between your toes as you sleep, hmm?



Hoof Hearted  Thursday Feb 8 03:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundae Girl View Post
^ sorry, that was supposed to be the pic of Sundae's crane fly...

We call those mosquito-hawks, too. However they still freak me out. Flying Daddy Long Legs. What could be worse than that?!
If it looks like a spider, I'm gonna freak. I can't help it. That pic of the hairy-looking wall made me cringe and make a squeamish noise. I couldn't look for long, I had to scroll very quickly...Good Lord! I think I have a tear in my eye! I hope tomorrows Friday animal pic is something cute and cuddley to help me get over this...
hh


busterb  Thursday Feb 8 04:07 PM

Around here, mosquito-hawks = dragon fly.


35



Sheldonrs  Thursday Feb 8 04:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
And just how many bugs do you have between your toes as you sleep, hmm?

Depends on how much I drank the night before. ;-)


bluesdave  Thursday Feb 8 06:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
I always thought they were spiders, but my 2nd grade daughter explained to me patiently last summer that they are not spiders. Kids today are so freaking smart. Anyway, I like daddy long legs. They are cool. I'm always careful around them because they seem so delicate.
It depends on which country you live in. Down here we have the traditional Daddy Longlegs, which as previously pointed out, is not a true spider, but then we do have spiders that look very similar. Not only that, but researchers discovered in the last year or two that the spider actually has a deadly (to humans), venom, but its fangs are so small, they cannot deliver a sufficient quantity to do any damage (in fact they rarely break the skin). I don't have time to look up references, but if I can find one later I will post it.

So, the bottom line is that the traditional Daddy Longlegs is not a spider, but there are similar looking real spiders in some countries, some of which are venomous.


Perry Winkle  Thursday Feb 8 06:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dypok View Post
Kill 'em with fire. Its the only way to be sure.
Quick! Someone call Jeff Daniels!


monster  Thursday Feb 8 08:49 PM

The cellar: no daddy-long-legs in here



monster  Thursday Feb 8 08:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldonrs View Post
"Friends" don't usually crawl between my toes when I am sleeping and bite me.

You need more imaginative friends


monster  Thursday Feb 8 08:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by todd_brannigan View Post
Looks like a patch of pubes....
A live merkin. Adds that extra something.....


Orca  Thursday Feb 8 10:24 PM

This image got me to join. A looong time ago I was a scout. Daddy long legs were constant tent mates during summer camp. You would sweep them out at night but by the end of the next day they would return. One year I had an especially large colony in my tent. My sister came for family night and sat on my bed. A stick fell and dislodged most of the colony. Aahh GOOD Times. I promise I didn't toss the stick. hehehehe



bluesdave  Thursday Feb 8 11:45 PM

Here is a link to the University of California that explains in more detail what I tried to say earlier - they are wrong about the venom of the "spider" DLL not being poisonous. I'll have to do more searching, but it was fairly recently discovered that the spider is extremely venomous, while it is true that the real DLL is harmless.



bluesdave  Friday Feb 9 01:12 AM

Further investigation seems to indicate that the spider (Pholcidae), is venomous to other spiders but not to humans. I was sure that I read somewhere that research had been done on the venom, and that it is toxic to humans (if it could be injected), but I cannot locate this research paper, so I must be wrong.



SPUCK  Friday Feb 9 06:11 AM

Daddy Long Legs eat by running down all the little bugs. They can book over stuff like leaves and grass where their puny prey has to go the long way around stuff. Its gotta be a real nightmare to their victims to see one in their rear view mirror. (Think Alien) I love them but haven't seen one in years around here... hmmmm

I do see puking cellar spiders too much. Yesterday I was standing in my back hallway, (has the washer and dryer in it). I was brushing my teeth and reading a propped up sailing magazine. The magazine slowly became blurry... A really large cellar spider with a leg span about the size of a tea cup opening had just lowered itself down so close to my face that I couldn't even focus on it!! It was totally rude! I promptly threw him out the back door after severely admonishing him.



BigV  Friday Feb 9 11:26 AM

From here.

Quote:
In the animal class Arachnida, there are several lower level divisions called Orders. Scorpions are in the Order Scorpiones, spiders are in the Order Araneae, ticks and mites are in the Order Acari.

The creatures most correctly called daddy-longlegs are in their own separate Order which is Opiliones. Common names for this Order are 1) daddy-longlegs, 2) harvestmen and 3) opilionids. They are characterized by having one basic body segment which shows segmentation on the posterior portion, at most 2 eyes and all 8 legs attach to the pill-like body segment.

Another creature often called daddy-longlegs are actually spiders. These long-legged spiders are in the family Pholcidae. Previously the common name of this family was the cellar spiders but arachnologists have also given them the moniker of "daddy-longlegs spiders" because of the confusion generated by the general public. Because these arachnids are spiders, they have 2 body basic body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen), have 8 eyes most often clumped together in the front of the body, the abdomen shows no evidence of segmentation, have 8 legs all attached to the front most body part (the cephalothorax) and make webs out of silk. This is most probably the animal to which people refer when they tell the tale because these spiders are plentiful especially in cellars (hence their common name) and are commonly seen by the general public.

Possible envenomation

Is there any truth to this oft-repeated tale?

Daddy-longlegs (Opiliones) - these arachnids make their living by eating decomposing vegetative and animal matter although are opportunist predators if they can get away with it. They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food. Therefore, they do not have poison and, by the powers of logic, cannot be poisonous from venom. Some have defensive secretions that might be poisonous to small animals if ingested. So, for these daddy-long-legs, the tale is clearly false.

Daddy-longlegs spiders (Pholcidae) - Here, the myth is incorrect at least in making claims that have no basis in known facts. There is no reference to any pholcid spider biting a human and causing any detrimental reaction. If these spiders were indeed deadly poisonous but couldn't bite humans, then the only way we would know that they are poisonous is by milking them and injecting the venom into humans. For a variety of reasons including Amnesty International and a humanitarian code of ethics, this research has never been done. Furthermore, there are no toxicological studies testing the lethality of pholcid venom on any mammalian system (this is usually done with mice). Therefore, no information is available on the likely toxic effects of their venom in humans, so the part of the myth about their being especially poisonous is just that: a myth. There is no scientific basis for the supposition that they are deadly poisonous and there is no reason to assume that it is true.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Feb 9 11:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orca View Post
This image got me to join.
See, that didn't feel nearly as perverted as you thought it would, did it? Welcome to the Cellar, Orca.


poohbearbeth  Friday Feb 9 04:14 PM

I feel them crawling on me
AGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG



WabUfvot5  Friday Feb 9 04:24 PM

I suddenly want a flame thrower.



bluesdave  Friday Feb 9 05:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
That is the first link I posted, and I did not see the need to copy/paste the text when I had already acknowledged the link. My second link also makes reference to the first link in its text.

I wish I could find that damned research, because I clearly remember it talking about the "myth", and that when they analysed the venom they were surprised to find that it was so strong (they thought that they would be confirming the myth) - and yes, it does mean killing the spiders in order to obtain the venom, as Pholcidae cannot be "milked" as many spiders can be.


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Feb 9 08:49 PM

Mythbusters.

Great Moments in Science.



bluesdave  Saturday Feb 10 01:58 AM

I love Mythbusters too Bruce, but they are not scientists, as much as they like to use the word science. As for Wikipedia, I have used it several times as a convenient "source" for quoting in forums, but it has absolutely no academic standing, and in fact the chief of Wikipedia was on NPR (All Things Considered), just today, being questioned about his site's credibility, and he basically admitted that it had none. We (in my old project), often joked with one another regarding Wikipedia, and were constantly amazed at how often people take what they find on the web as gospel (no disrespect intended).

Anyway, I have already conceded defeat given that I cannot locate the research I wanted. I must have become confused in my old age.



Undertoad  Saturday Feb 10 09:52 AM

Quote:
We (in my old project), often joked with one another regarding Wikipedia, and were constantly amazed at how often people take what they find on the web as gospel (no disrespect intended).

Anyway, I have already conceded defeat given that I cannot locate the research I wanted.
As a Wikipedia advocate I take this combination of statements to be highly ironic.

If you find something inaccurate in Wikipedia, don't laugh at it, correct it. It's thought to be as accurate as Brittanica, but continuously self-updating and free. I laugh (and cry) at the scientific journals that don't publish on the web. What are they afraid of? Wikipedia is what happens when money is less important than getting information out.


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Feb 10 10:59 AM

C'mon Dave, I believe ya. I'm just trying to help you out here, by linking pertinent articles.

Mythbusters is not a reference. Even a dummy like me can see holes in their methodology and sometimes downright illogical conclusions. That said, you have to admit the show has gotten better since the added the "research scientists" with the hip huggers and tight tops.

If I Google something I know little or nothing about, it's hard to decide which of the seventy eleven links might be productive. Wiki is a great place to start with the "big picture". It gives me the general schools of thought and major points of contention. If I want to dig deeper, the external links gives me a place to start digging.

I saw a chart one time that showed the entire history of Wiki's most "active" subjects. How often, how, and by whom, they were changed. Quite often the item would repeatedly change in minutes for particularly contentious subjects. Unless you have solid evidence to the contrary, for a given subject, collective wisdom is the way to go.



bluesdave  Saturday Feb 10 06:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
As a Wikipedia advocate I take this combination of statements to be highly ironic.
Research institutions often post news releases about their research projects, on their web sites. That was what I was looking for, not the research paper itself. Very few of these sites offer archives, so if they have a busy publicity/communications department, the news releases can drop out of sight pretty quickly.

I have only ever quoted a link to Wikipedia if the subject content looked OK to me, and as I have already said, I know that most web users accept Wikipedia as being an impeccable source. I too wish that more of our work was published on the web, but there is very strong resistance to doing this amongst the scientific community. I tried to do something about it, but I was virtually a lone voice.


missaminus  Saturday Feb 10 06:40 PM

sluurrrrp!

anything I can suck up in my Dyson vacuum is tolerable. Anything else that I can't- mice, rats, snakes, kids (eewwww!)- intolerable!



bluesdave  Saturday Feb 10 07:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
C'mon Dave, I believe ya. I'm just trying to help you out here, by linking pertinent articles.
I know Bruce, and I appreciate your efforts. I meant no disrespect to you.


skysidhe  Saturday Feb 10 10:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
GAH!!



Wombat  Sunday Feb 11 05:41 PM

In Australia, the term daddy long legs refers to a different creep-crawly... ours is a true spider, with a small pale body and very long thin legs. It is rumored to be one of the most venomous spiders in the world, however it is harmless to humans because its fangs are too small to pierce human skin.




LabRat  Monday Feb 12 10:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesdave View Post
Research institutions often post news releases about their research projects, on their web sites.
So, they are telling what they found out, and you are saying OK, that must be true then. Right?

Just because a "Research Institution" says something , doesn't mean it's necessarily right.

All scientific articles must go thru a peer review process before being accepted for publication, online and eventually print in a scientific journal. The papers are usually sent to 3 researchers in the same field, who are asked to review the paper. (If they do not wish to review it, it is sent out again until at least 3 people review it.) If all 3 say sure, looks good to us, it generally gets published. If there are apparent problems withthe method of experiment, or conclusions drawn, the author(s) are either asked to make corrections and resubmit for further review, or the paper is totally denied for that publication in that journal. The Authors can then send the paper out to another (less picky/lower quality) journal, and try to get it published again, with or without revisions.

I am a researcher, so I know this process.

Scientific journal editors are relying on the collective knowledge of experts to put out reliable information.

Essentially this is what Wiki is doing also. The info is out there, but "we" are the reviewers. It's really no more or less reliable than the set of people reviewing the initial submissions.


bluesdave  Monday Feb 12 05:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
So, they are telling what they found out, and you are saying OK, that must be true then. Right?
No.

Quote:
Just because a "Research Institution" says something , doesn't mean it's necessarily right.
True. I never said otherwise.

Quote:
All scientific articles must go thru a peer review process before being accepted for publication, online and eventually print in a scientific journal. The papers are usually sent to 3 researchers in the same field, who are asked to review the paper. (If they do not wish to review it, it is sent out again until at least 3 people review it.) If all 3 say sure, looks good to us, it generally gets published. If there are apparent problems withthe method of experiment, or conclusions drawn, the author(s) are either asked to make corrections and resubmit for further review, or the paper is totally denied for that publication in that journal. The Authors can then send the paper out to another (less picky/lower quality) journal, and try to get it published again, with or without revisions.
Don't try to teach your grandpa how to suck eggs, girlie. :p

Quote:
I am a researcher, so I know this process.
I was undertaking research when you were just a gleam in your parents' eyes.
Quote:
Essentially this is what Wiki is doing also. The info is out there, but "we" are the reviewers. It's really no more or less reliable than the set of people reviewing the initial submissions.
Rubbish. First Wiki is not a recognised, nor supported, academic resource, and secondly, any given entry can be modified by anyone, and even the "editors" often cannot agree - a fact admitted on NPR by the head of Wiki last Friday. He said that he knows of entries that have been modified several times in only a few minutes, and that he has no control over it. He seemed to be quite proud of it. Strange.


xoxoxoBruce  Monday Feb 12 07:43 PM

Here is an excellent article that explains how Wikipedia really works. It appears from the comments below the article, there's some politics, some money, some ego, some disention....but it's working.



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