Are daddy long legs really the most venomous spider in the world?

Are daddy long legs really the most venomous spider in the world?

For some, the so-called ‘daddy long legs’ are somewhat unpopular and as unwelcome a house guest as unruly in-laws after a long day.

For others, crane flies, to call them by their proper names, are an amusing addition to our homes due to their strange shape.

We currently do not have the means to measure whether there are particularly high numbers of the fly this year, but the cool and damp weather we have been experiencing towards the back end of the summer is ideal for them.

Their long legs lead some people to believe they are spiders. Almost all spiders in the UK are venomous, but only because most spiders are. They do not have the venom required to be harmful to humans.

There has long been a myth that crane flies, of which there are 94 different species, are indeed extremely venomous. Due to the similarities in appearances to spiders, crane flies are considered incorrectly by some to be themselves venomous.

But you needn’t worry, they are completely harmless.

What if I see a daddy long legs in my house?

The cool and damp weather we have been experiencing towards the back end of the summer is ideal for them.
(
Getty Images)

Karl Curtis, director of reserves and community engagement at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, told CoventryLive why they end up in people’s houses.

He said: “They’re not looking for shelter, they’re out looking for a mate and then looking to lay eggs, they end up in houses because their favourite habitat is short grass and we have lawns.”

“Probably now is the last throw of the dice, and what they do is they come out and looking to mate, lay eggs back into vegetation and then they die off.”

There is no need to kill them, Curtis said.

“They often get confused with spiders but they’re not, they’re flies, they’re a really good food source for birds, they’re really important to play their part so people should let them out of their windows and not kill them.”

Why the myth?

Their long legs lead some people to believe they are spiders
(
Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It is likely the resemblance to their eight-legged cousins, spiders, that gives us this urban myth. Though it is not known when this myth arose.

They do contain toxins, however, as the University of Califonia’s entomology department explains : “They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food. Therefore, they do not have injectable toxins. Some have defensive secretions that might be toxic to small animals if ingested.”

As numerous experts testify, people often fall foul of a common misunderstanding regarding the words ‘poisonous’ and ‘venomous’. The first of which me something that is likely to cause you harm if you ingest it, while the latter references creatures that produce poison.

To humans, though, the daddy long legs is neither.

Read More

Read More

Trending