Everyone has seen those long-legged creepy crawlies, granddaddy long-legs, scurrying around outside. While they prefer the summer months and warmer southern states, granddaddy long-legs can be found all over the United States with over 6,400 different species. These insects go by many names, including Harvestmen, daddy long-legs, and spiders, and have some urban legends alongside, such as the myth that they carry a deadly poison, but have fangs too small to bite. So let's dive into some facts!
Granddaddy long-legs are actually not spiders. While they are in the arachnid family, and spider-like in appearance, they aren't actually spiders. They don't have silk glands, can't make webs, are not venomous, and are more closely related to scorpions, ticks, mites, centipedes and millipedes. Also unlike spiders, they can eat chunks of food and aren't restricted to a liquid diet.
Despite what fears you may have gained from watching arachnophobia, granddaddy long-legs do not have venom glands or fangs to bite. They are not poisonous to humans or any animal.
In the northern and colder parts of the US, most die in the fall after they lay their eggs, but in the southern parts, many hide under organic matter throughout the winter. You will see granddaddy long-legs most often in the late summer and fall, especial in the afternoon and evening as they come out to feed.
An average diet consists of aphids, caterpillars, beetles, flies, small slugs and snails, other invertebrates, decaying plant and animal matter, and occasionally juices from veggies and fruits.
When an enemy attempts to capture granddaddy long-legs, it is almost sure to seize a leg. Once the leg detaches, it will twitch to distract the enemy, much like a skink's tail.
Some granddaddy long-legs attach debris and dirt to their body to detour predators.
Every ten days, the granddaddy long-legs will molt, and it will take them 20 minutes to detach this skin.