Do you like creepy-crawlies? Some kids freak out when they see a spider or a scary insect. Others, though, are fascinated by them and love to catch them to study them up-close.

At one time or another, you’ve probably seen a creeping, crawling creature known commonly as a daddy longlegs. It kind of looks like a spider, but is it one? You may have also heard that it’s the most venomous creature in the world but its fangs are too short to penetrate human skin. But is any of that true?

The answers to these questions depend, in part, on exactly which daddy longlegs you’re talking about. That name is often used to describe several different creatures. For example, it may be used to describe the long-legged crane fly, which is an insect, or long-legged cellar spiders, which are true spiders.

Mostly, though, daddy longlegs is used to refer to Opiliones, which are an order of arachnids also known as harvestmen. Scientists believe there could be over 10,000 different species of harvestmen.

Harvestmen are arachnids, but not spiders. They have eight legs and look a bit like spiders, but there are several key differences. For example, harvestmen have one body section and two eyes, while most spiders have two body sections and eight eyes.

Harvestmen also don’t produce silk and don’t have venom. Thus, that old myth about daddy longlegs being the most venomous creature on Earth is just that: a myth. Even if you call a harvestman a daddy longlegs, there’s no proof that its venom is especially toxic to humans.

Harvestmen tend to live on the ground in moist areas, such as under logs and rocks. Their long legs explain the “longlegs” part of their nickname, although no one knows for sure where the “daddy” part of the nickname came from. Curiously, scientists point out that there are some species of harvestmen that have short legs!

The long legs of most harvestmen are very important to them. Harvestmen sense the world around them with their legs, like we do with our ears, nose, tongue and skin. If you try to capture a harvestman, one or more of its legs might fall off. Although losing its legs might help a harvestman escape a predator, it seriously hurts its ability to sense the world around it.

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    • Hi, James! We thought the music was awesome, too! We’re not sure exactly what the other bug was, but we bet it was glad about the way things turned out at the end of the video! :-)

      If you like WONDERing about bugs as much as we do, then check out these Wonders from our “insect” category: http://wonderopolis.org/category/insects/

  1. Hi, I’m from Mrs. Hess’ class and I thought that video was very interesting. I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about how surgery or about how other people stand up for themselves. Thank You. I will keep WONDERing. :)

    • We are SUPER happy to hear that you guys learned a lot by exploring today’s Wonder, Ms. Turney’s Class! We did, too!

      Thank you for stopping by Wonderopolis and learning together with us on this WONDERful Wednesday! :-)

  2. Hey there people at Wonderopolis. I love your work. I am Gabrielle, and I love to learn with you every day. Thank you for what you do. I have a few questions for you.

    How did you make this website? How do you get the videos? Did you make them? If so, how did you make them? I am in 5th grade in Mrs. Hess’ class and I want to get a degree in technology and be a professor in writing books and also get a degree in teaching. I want to be just like Mrs. Hess. She is the best teacher ever. Well, I am getting ready for ISTEP. I love school and Wonderopolis makes it a whole lot easier and more fun, too. Thanks.

    • WOW, Gabrielle! Your comment ROCKS! We really appreciate hearing how much you enjoy learning with us each day! It is also awesome to hear that your WONDERful teacher, Mrs. Hess, inspires you and your classmates to Wonder, too! She sounds like an AMAZING teacher and mentor!

      When our Wonder Friends (like YOU!) stop by Wonderopolis each day, they know they are visiting a super special place where they can explore, share, and learn new things! We think there’s a little bit of WONDER in not knowing everything about Wonderopolis and being surprised about each new day’s discovery, don’t you think?

      We can tell you that we search high and low for the best videos to accompany each day’s Wonder. Sometimes we borrow them from places like YouTube and Vimeo, and sometimes we make our own videos. Making videos is a lot of FUN! Here are some past Wonders that might help you in your quest to learn more about videos:

      Wonder #754 – What Does It Mean To Go Viral? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-does-it-mean-to-go-viral/
      Wonder #518 – How Does Clay Animation Work? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-does-clay-animation-work/
      Wonder #242 – How Does 3D Work? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-does-3d-work/
      Wonder #205 – How Do You Write a TV Script? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-do-you-write-a-tv-script/

      Have a GREAT rest of the day! :-)

  3. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We watched the video from National Geographic and we learned a lot (some people were grossed out, though). We learned that daddy long legs eat aphids and their enemy is a tiger beetle. We also learned that they can unattach their legs when they are trying to escape. We think tomorrow’s wonder is why the heart is a symbol for Valentine’s day or all about St. Valentine.

    • Happy “Day-before-Valentine’s” Day, Mrs. Chevalier’s Class! Thank you for sharing what you learned by exploring one of the video links in today’s Wonder! We appreciate you helping us learn some new things today, too!

      We can’t wait to visit tomorrow’s Wonder to see if your really great guesses are correct! :-)

    • We’re glad you enjoyed exploring today’s Wonder, Jake! Thanks for letting us know by leaving us your super enthusiastic comment! :-)

  4. Mr. Swick’s class here!

    Today our class was excited to learn that Daddy LongLegs are actually arachnids. But, our favorite moment was probably watching the Daddy LongLeg floss his teeth in the National Geographic video. Wow. Who knew arachnids had good dental hygiene!

  5. Thoughts: We wonder if scientists will ever learn why they’re called daddy longlegs. The video creeped us out! We’re interested in why some daddy longlegs have short legs and some have long legs.

    Connections: This reminds a student (Andrew) picked up a daddy longlegs at a soccer game. At one of our students (Michelle) other schools there were lots of daddy longlegs. Kevin noticed that there were lots of spiders in the basement at his old house.

    Predictions: Have you ever celebrated Valentine’s Day? Why do people use a heart to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you have a special someone? What is Jump Rope for Heart?

    • We love hearing your thoughts, connections and predictions, Mrs. Hess’ Class! We think it would be really interesting to learn why some daddy longlegs actually have short legs, too! If you guys learn some cool new facts through your own WONDERing, please share what you find out with your friends in Wonderopolis…we love to learn, too!

      We think your predictions about tomorrow’s Wonder are AWESOME! Let’s meet back here tomorrow to see what WONDERful heartfelt things we’ll be WONDERing about together! :-)

  6. We are really enjoying reading the Wonder of the Day! Today was our favorite so far! We think tomorrow’s Wonder will be: Valentine’s Day, hearts, circulatory system, and cupid.

  7. Dear, Wonderopolis,

    I think the wonder was cool and I think the next wonder will be
    about your heart or love.

    From,
    Adam in Mrs Jonnson’s class

    • What a GREAT comment, Adam! Thank you so much for sharing your feelings about today’s Wonder and also for letting us know what you think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about. You are an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

  8. Do all spiders have 8 legs? Can the daddy long leg bite a human? Where do daddy long legs live? Do baby spiders live in water? We have seen spiders in our kitchen and on the walls.

    • We think all of your extra WONDERing on what you learned about daddy longlegs in today’s Wonder is SUPER, Mrs. Utter’s Kindergarten Class! We have also seen spiders on walls (and fences, on bricks, under rocks, on plants…LOTS and LOTS of places!)! They are AMAZING creatures, aren’t they? They are FUN to WONDER about! :-)

  9. We really liked the video. It was very interesting, but didn’t that fact say they couldn’t produce silk? The video showed the daddy longlegs wrapping his prey in silk. Thank you!

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends in Ms. Pressley’s Class! We’re so happy you’re WONDERing with us today! HOORAY for you! Today’s Wonder video features the click beetle and the daddy longlegs… and it looks like the daddy longlegs is borrowing some silk from the click beetle! That daddy longlegs sure is clever! We think you’re doing an awesome job of WONDERing and using your imaginations today! We sure hope to see you soon! :)

  10. Dear Wonderopolis,
    We learned that Daddy Longlegs are actually called Harvestmen. In fact, we have never heard or used this term before. We just assumed that Daddy Longlegs were “SPIDERS”. Thank you for teaching us the difference between spiders and harvestmen.
    We predict that tomorrow’s Wonder is about Valentine’s Day since tomorrow is the day of LOVE!!!
    XOXOXO

    • Good morning, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Bork’s Grade 4/5 Class! We are thrilled to hear that you are WONDERing with us today… and you learned the truth about daddy longlegs, too! You did a SUPER job of summarizing the new facts you learned, and it sounds like you’ve been very busy comparing and contrasting spiders and harvestmen. We Wonder how you did that? Did you write the similarities and differences in your Wonder journal, did you make a class chart? We think it sounds very fun!

      We look forward to WONDERing with you tomorrow, too! :)

  11. Wowza! We are learning about Amazing Animals in our reading class. This was an amazing experience for us and we now know a lot about “daddy longlegs”. We hope to use Wonderopolis as one of our weekly journal entries. We used to have “Wacky Wednesday” where we compared and contrasted 2 crazy unlike things…but now we might change our journal focus to “Wonder Wednesdays”! Thanks bunches for such a cool website that encourages wondering, writing, and “wow”ness! We were wondering…Why do dogs have whiskers? :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Rosario’s Class! It sounds like you are having a great time WONDERing today! We’re oh-so-happy that you’re here with us! Thank you for sharing your awesome comment with us, too. It sounds like your Wacky Wednesday, or Wonder Wednesday, is a SUPER fun way to spend the day. Thank you for including us! Have a SUPER time writing in your weekly journals– keep using your WONDERful imaginations! :)

    • Creepy crawly insects make us shiver sometimes, too, Wonder Friend Jusin! We’re proud of you for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • They sure do have long legs, Moira! We know that insects can be creepy crawly at times, but we’re so happy that you’re WONDERing with us today! It’s fun to learn something new with a great Wonder Friend like you! HOORAY for Wonder Wednesday! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Joshua! We are really happy you’re here today, and we appreciate your comment! Although today’s Wonder wasn’t your favorite, we hope you learned something new about daddy longlegs! We Wonder what your favorite topic to Wonder about is…? :)

  12. How do I get a picture when I comment, like when you comment you have a picture of wonderopolis. Cool wonder! Also I figured out when a mosquito lands on your arm and you flex your arm it will make the mosquito explode.

    • Great question, Wonder Friend Hunter! The picture you see for Wonderopolis is called an avatar! How cool! You can sign up for an avatar of your own, and choose a specific picture to represent you! We bet you can do some research of your own, or perhaps ask a parent or teacher to help you! We are so glad you enjoyed our buggy Wonder today, Hunter! We think you’re an awesome Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Sandy! Thanks for telling us about your awesome Wonder! We’re glad to hear that you’ve been thinking even more about daddy longlegs! Unlike lizards, daddy longlegs’ legs will not grow back if they lose them. We Wonder if you have seen a daddy longlegs up close? :)

  13. Hi, Wonderopolis,
    Today was a pretty cool Wonder. I don’t really get creeped out by a spider when I see one but only when it’s not on me and when it’s not really huge. I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about Valentine’s day.

    • Thanks for sharing your super awesome comment, Navleen! We think you’re brave for WONDERing with us about daddy longlegs, but we understand that they don’t bother you unless you see them in person! We prefer to Wonder about daddy longlegs from afar, too! Thanks for sharing your cool Wonder guess for tomorrow! We’ll see you then! :)

    • Thanks for being a brave Wonder Friend, Joel! Sometimes spiders make our skin crawl, too, but we are glad you learned something new about how spiders and daddy longlegs live! We Wonder if you have a guess for the next Wonder of the Day®? :)

  14. I liked today’s wonder! The video was great! I learned a lot, like how harvestmen spiders use their legs to sense the world around them, and how they don’t produce silk and they don’t have venom, and they only have one body section and two eyes. I like them a lot because they are harmless and they look cool because they look like they are floating when they walk because sometimes their legs are hard to see. Once, while me and my family were hiking, my momma found a daddy longlegs ( she really likes them, too!) on the ground and she picked it up with a stick and we looked at it, and it was white and swirly. It was crawling on the stick and it looked really cool. We could not identify it, though. Thank you for today’s wonder! It was cool! :) ;)

    • You’ve done a WONDERful job of telling us about what you learned today, Berkleigh! It sounds like your family’s hiking trip was a TON of fun, and how cool that you saw a daddy longlegs up close! We like your description of a daddy longlegs– they do look like they float when they walk! Keep up the great work! :)

    • You learn something new every day, Wonder Friend Angie! It’s cool that we learned about the difference between spiders and daddy longlegs together! Thanks for joining us today! :)

  15. I loved this wonder because my sister thinks that daddy longlegs are the most venomous creatures in the world and that daddy longlegs are spiders.

    • Thanks for visiting us today, Meaghan! You and your sister can Wonder together about daddy longlegs and spiders and what makes them different! Have a WONDERful time! :)

  16. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Daddy Longlegs have longer legs than any other species of spiders! Wow! Daddy longlegs can’t bite humans because their legs are so long and their mouths are so small.

    Additional things we wonder:
    How did the beetle get out of the web?
    Why are their legs so long?

    We will continue to add to our “Wall of Wonders.” When we feel it is sizable, we will definitely send you a photo! Thanks for instilling in us the will to wonder!

    Thank you,
    Ms. Uppena’s Third Grade Super Sleuths

    • WAY TO GO, Super Sleuths! You really did a great job of sharing what you learned today! You also shared some great Wonders of your own! We hope you’ll research more information about beetles, like we saw in the Wonder video today! Your Wall of Wonders seems to be coming along– keep up the great work! :)

    • WOW, we learned something new from you today, Opinion_girl13! We are proud of you for WONDERing with us, even though you don’t love spiders. We hope you will Wonder with us soon! :)

  17. EWWWWWWW!!!!!!! I HATE SPIDERS THEY ARE SO GROSS! THIS WAS SO SCARY FOR ME TO READ BECAUSE SPIDERS ARE GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We are proud of you for WONDERing with us today, Ashley! Even though spiders give some of us the creepy crawly feeling, we are glad we learned about different types of spiders today! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend– you rock! :)

  18. This is so cool I don’t think having spiders are my thing but I guess they’re cool to look at but not in my house. But really cool and can’t wait for next wonder!

    • We’re so happy you have been WONDERing about spiders and daddy longlegs with us today, malbersen9608! Even though spiders aren’t your favorite topic, we hope you learned something with us today! Have a stellar day! :)

  19. I think that this was a great subject to learn about!! I’ve always been interested in Daddy longlegs and I’ve always been curious. :) Thanks!

    • HOW COOL, Izzy! We like your enthusiasm for today’s Wonder and we’re happy you’re here today! We can’t wait to Wonder with you again tomorrow! :)

  20. This was interesting but I already knew that they are the most venomous spiders but fangs are too small to bite people.

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend! It’s great that you’re here today, we enjoyed your comment! Check out the excerpt from today’s Wonder… we think you’ll be interested to find out that daddy longlegs don’t have venom!

      “Mostly, though, daddy longlegs is used to refer to Opiliones, which are an order of arachnids also known as harvestmen. Scientists believe there could be over 10,000 different species of harvestmen.

      Harvestmen are arachnids, but not spiders. They have eight legs and look a bit like spiders, but there are several key differences. For example, harvestmen have one body section and two eyes, while most spiders have two body sections and eight eyes.

      Harvestmen also don’t produce silk and don’t have venom. Thus, that old myth about daddy longlegs being the most venomous creature on Earth is just that: a myth. Even if you call a harvestman a daddy longlegs, there’s no proof that its venom is especially toxic to humans.” :)

    • Well thank you so much, Wonder Friend Claire! Thanks for telling us how much you enjoyed today’s Wonder! It’s so cool that you’ve been WONDERing about the term “harvestmen”, too! Scientists are uncertain about where the name for these different type of insects actually came from! We Wonder if you can share your guess!? :)

  21. Dear Wonderopolis, I am not a big fan of daddy long legs. One time I was at a cottage and in the bathroom there was about 10 to 12 daddy long legs. How does a daddy long legs unattach its legs?

    • We sure are glad you shared your comment, Reagan! Daddy longlegs can make our skin crawl, too! It sounds like that cottage was home to quite a few daddy longlegs! Because daddy longlegs have such thin legs, they can detach when we try to pick them up! :)

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Mrs. Smith’s Class! We’re happy to hear that you learned about harvestmen and daddy longlegs with us today! YIPPEE! We look forward to WONDERing with you again tomorrow, on a very special day! See you soon! :)

  22. What are daddy long legs? Daddy longlegs are types of spiders that have long legs. They eat insects but before they eat them they must wrap them with webs. Sometimes the insect escapes.

    • NICE WORK, Wonder Friend Daniel! You did a stellar job of summarizing today’s Wonder– it looks like you learned a lot with us! We are looking forward to the Spring, and hopefully we can see some daddy longlegs in person! :)

  23. Dear wonderopolis

    Hi I’m back! I loved the spider video it was really cool. Regan is from Mrs. Chevalier’s too! You guys are awesome!!!!!!!

    • Welcome back, Pablo! We’re so happy you visited us again, Wonder Friend! It’s so cool that you, Regan and other Wonder Friends from Mrs. Chevalier’s class are WONDERing together! YOU ROCK! Thanks for sharing your enthusiastic comment with us! :)

    • It’s okay, some of our Wonder Friends aren’t big fans of crawling critters either, EE! However, we sure do have a fun time WONDERing about them! It’s interesting to learn about how daddy longlegs live! We hope to see you soon, EE! :)

  24. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I thought that daddy longlegs was a type of spider. But I don’t look close enough to notice the differences.

    I think that tomorrow’s wonder of the day is going to be about SIR VALENTINE or how Valentine’s Day started.

    Love your wonder friend Shelby XOXO

    • WAY TO GO, Wonder Friend Shelby! We think it’s great that you compared and contrasted spiders and daddy longlegs today! We like your Valentine’s Day guess… we hope you have a very WONDERful Valentine’s Day! :)

    • We’re so sorry to hear that you can’t view today’s Wonder video at school, Noah! We hope can visit the library, or perhaps view the video at home today! We’re excited that you read today’s Wonder about daddy longlegs. :)

    • That’s a great guess, Crystal! We Wonder if you already saw the Wonder from today– because you are absolutely correct! Thanks for sharing your comment and using your awesome imagination! :)

    • Hey there, Caden from Northside! We are so excited about your comment… we can hardly stop smiling! Thanks so much for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • We completely understand, Adrienne, sometimes we feel our skin crawl when we Wonder about spiders, too! We are happy that you faced your fears to Wonder about arachnids with us– you ROCK! :)

    • It seems like the daddy longlegs won that battle, Owen and Pooch! We Wonder if you’ve seen a daddy longlegs up close? They sure do have think, fragile legs! We think you’re awesome and we’re glad you’re WONDERing with us! :)

  25. It looked like he was dancing and at the end it looked like he was about to say “Dang it!” — Alex

    It was funny when he was capturing him and the beetle went on with it’s life.
    – Egypt

    I liked the music. — Aylin

    I felt like I was almost in that moment like the spider was going down my shirt. — Suchitra

    I felt like the spider was actually in here. — Aurora

    • Hi Amma! Thanks for letting us know how much you enjoy Wonderopolis! We think our WONDERers are the best part. You know what can never end? You being able to WONDER with your classroom or with your family. What are some things you like to WONDER about? :)

    • WOW, what a great question, Donna! We think it’s so cool that you’ve been WONDERing about daddy longlegs with us! These super insects have very thin, long legs that help them get from place to place. That’s part of their name- “longlegs”! No one is certain about where the “daddy” in “daddy longlegs” came from, but perhaps you can do some more WONDERing of your own. You can pretend you have found a new insect- what does it look like? What will it be called? What does it do? Keep up the WONDERing, Donna! :)

    • Well thank you so much, Wonder Friend Amaiya! We are so glad you enjoyed our bug Wonder– daddy longlegs are very cool! We think it’s great that you have been WONDERing with us today! We look forward to your next visit! :)

    • We are sorry to hear this wasn’t one of your favorite Wonders, Jimmy! We appreciate your comment… perhaps you have another topic that you’ll hop over to, one that will make you smile?! What types of Wonders are you interested in, Jimmy? We’ve got more than 800 Wonders to share! :)

  26. That was so cool that you got to see that fight and thanks for helping me with my homework by telling me all of that information.
    BYE!

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us, Cagla! We are glad you enjoyed learning about daddy longlegs and how they live. They are very interesting insects, if we do say so ourselves! We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! :)

    • Hey Luna, be sure to check out our Wonder for more awesome information about daddy longlegs! That name is a mystery! :)

    • Great answer, Rayla! Daddy longlegs are very cool to Wonder about… do you have any of them near your home? :)

    • We’re so glad you’re here today, Beau! We appreciate your comment and we hope to Wonder with you again soon! :)

    • We love your enthusiasm, Andrew! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :)

      Do you spy any daddy longlegs in your backyard? There are lots of cool creatures to find. We can’t wait to Wonder with you again tomorrow, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hi, Chris L! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! We hope that you learned a lot about Daddy Longlegs! Keep WONDERing with us! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why are they called daddy longlegs?
  • Are daddy longlegs spiders?
  • Are daddy longlegs venomous?

Wonder Gallery

864Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Read to explore creepy-crawlies in greater depth? Find one or two non-squeamish friends or family member to help you check out one or more of the following activities:

  • Do you know what daddy longlegs look like? Check out National Geographic Kids’ Daddy Longlegs video to learn more!
  • Do you have any daddy longlegs where you live? Find out! It’s time to go on a daddy longlegs hunt. Before you set out on your backyard adventure, you may want to have a few supplies with you. If you can, take along a camera and a journal, so you can take pictures and write about your experience. Check around the outside of your house. Look under the eaves, around doorways and near windows. You can also check bushes and trees. Did you find any daddy longlegs nearby? If so, feel free to upload a picture or write a short description of what you found and post them to Facebook to share with all your Wonder Friends. Happy hunting!
  • Today’s Wonder of the Day mentioned a few different species that are sometimes referred to as daddy longlegs. Choose a couple of these species and do some Internet research to learn more about them. How are they similar? How are they different? Summarize your findings in a short comparison/contrast essay. For a challenge, turn your essay into a presentation that includes pictures and graphics to illustrate your points!

Still Wondering

Check out National Geographic Education’s Small Spiders, Big Mysteries article to learn more about thumb-sized spiders that make enormous webs that span the rivers of Madagascar!

Test Your Knowledge

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