Are Daddy Longlegs Really Venomous?

Nope, not one little bit.

There is a popular myth that daddy longlegs are incredibly venomous but their fangs are too small to break human skin. This is actually an American myth which has been misunderstood ever since it was imported to the UK.

There is a venomous daddy longlegs: the daddy longlegs spider. Almost all spiders are venomous to some extent. Daddy longlegs spiders can bite humans but almost never do, and when they do it is not very dangerous. When the myth about the daddy longlegs’ bite started in the US, it was referring to these spiders. At some point a British person must have heard the myth and applied it to what we over the pond call daddy longlegs: the crane fly.

Crane flies are not spiders, they are… you guessed it… flies. They have no venom, no fangs and as adults they only eat nectar and pollen.

It’s interesting how myths like this can persist even when all the warning signals are ringing. Crane flies don’t even look like spiders – they have six legs and they fly! Myths like this encourage fear of innocent flies, and through science we can overcome this fearmongering and learn to love our weird little flying cousins.

Happy new year science fans!

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