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Old 18th June 2017, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Here be Spiders! Them things with > 6 legs.

Ay yup. Heard this before.

Are Daddy Longlegs Really the Most Venomous Spiders In the World?

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A widespread myth holds that daddy longlegs, also known as granddaddy longlegs or harvestmen, are the most venomous spiders in the world. We're only safe from their bite, we are told, because their fangs are too small and weak to break through human skin.

It turns out that the notion is false on both counts. But a little clarification is needed.

According to entomologists at the University of California, Riverside, the term "daddy longlegs" is commonly used to refer to two distinct types of creatures: opilionids arachnids with pill-shape bodies and eight long legs that are actually not spiders, and pholcids, which have long legs and small bodies, and thus resemble opilionids, but which are true spiders.

Opilionids true daddy longlegs live in moist, dark places and eat mostly decomposing vegetable and animal matter. "They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food," the UC entomologists write on their website. "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 longlegs, the tale is clearly false."

Pholcids, or daddy long-legs spiders, are venomous predators, and although they never naturally bite people, their fangs are similar in structure to those of brown recluse spiders, and therefore can theoretically penetrate skin. For these reasons, "This is most probably the animal to which people refer when they tell the tale," the entomologists assert.

But is pholcids' venom extremely poisonous? Surprisingly, because they almost never bite, scientists have never bothered to conduct research to determine their venom's toxicity to humans . In 2004, the Discovery Channel show "Mythbusters" stepped in to fill this knowledge void. The team set out to coax a daddy longlegs spider into biting the arm of the show's co-host, Adam Savage.

Their official conclusion? Myth busted. The spider was able to penetrate Savage's skin, and he reported nothing more than a very mild burning sensation from the venom that lasted just a few seconds.
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  #582  
Old 19th June 2017, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Here be Spiders! Them things with > 6 legs.

The lack of toxicity could also be to the minute quantity of venom injected.
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  #583  
Old 30th September 2017, 09:20 AM
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Default Re: Here be Spiders! Them things with > 6 legs.

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  #584  
Old 22nd December 2017, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: Here be Spiders! Them things with > 6 legs.

The episode of Pepa Pig that Auntie ABC won't show:

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That episode is called "Spider Web." Wikipedia's description is short but to the point: "There's a spider in the house, so Mummy Pig tells Daddy Pig to get rid of it." The Pig family spend much of the five minutes discussing whether the spider should be able to live with them or not -- Mummy Pig wants it gone, but Daddy Pig notes that spiders eat flies and are therefore good to have around. In the end, the family concludes that spiders are good to have around (although better outside the house than inside). Daddy Pig even makes a new rule: no one is to break a spider’s web, as the spider worked long and hard to build it, and that just wouldn’t be nice.

"Spider Web" originally aired in the UK on December 21, 2011 and soon was available for broadcast in other areas. Australia was one of those secondary regions -- but it never made it to TV there. Peppa Pig typically airs on ABC 4 Kids in Australia and the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Company), which operates that channel, declined to air the episode.

The problem: spiders in Australia are really dangerous. Really. As Wikipedia notes, “Australia has some highly venomous spiders, including the notorious Sydney funnel-web, its relatives in the Atrax genus, and redback spiders, whose bites can be deadly.” Even though the most common spiders in Australia are generally not very toxic, there are some best avoided. Learning to play nice with spiders is a bad idea if you're an Australian four-year-old.

The ABC's decision probably wouldn't have come to light except for a slight error on their part. In August of 2012, a viewer complained that the Spider Web" episode appeared on an ABC-run website. The ABC apologized for their error, and the episode is no longer available there.


Dislcaimer: Black does not look like Daddy Pig. Much.
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Last edited by The Irreverent Mr Black; 22nd December 2017 at 10:47 AM.
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