My whole life I have been told that the little critters we call Daddy Longlegs were one of the most venomous spiders on the planet but that they lacked the fangs to actually inject a human being. Today, I decided to check that out and see if that was really true.
It turns out there are two critters commonly called daddy long legs. One is a spider (arachnid) and one is an opilonid.
What we see around this part of the country is an Opilonid. They have no fangs and no poison. They eat decaying matter and don’t hunt. They have two eyes and a round unsegmented body. You won’t see these in webs unless they are a meal for a real spider.
There are also spiders, complete with a segmented body and eight eyes, that are commonly referred to as Daddy Longlegs. They do live in webs, have fangs and can bite. They are usually found in cellars which we don’t have around this part of Texas. There is no record of the bite of these spiders being any more dangerous or venomous than any other common house spider nor any reason to believe they lack the ability to inject venom into a human. They are a similar size and have similar fangs to a brown recluse and we know those can inject humans.
So, the tale of these creatures being incredibly poisonous but unable to inject their venom is just a myth; good to know but probably not very critical.
Being allergic to spider venom, I’ll give them all as wide a berth as I can.