Backyard Buddies
Daddy Long Legs Spiders

Photo: Mad Max

Daddy Long Legs Spiders

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Many of our backyard buddies find their way inside our homes and take up temporary residence, and one of the most successful and ever-present is the Daddy-long-legs spider.

Almost every house or shed in Australia has been home to the messy, tangled web of the Daddy-long-legs, especially as the weather begins to cool towards winter and the spiders seek warmth indoors.

We remove them regularly on the end of a broom and put them outside, but somehow, they always manage to find their way back in again.

They're hard to dislike, with their spindly and delicate legs and tiny body making them one of the few spiders that even arachnophobes might be able to pick up and take outside.

Yet despite their apparent harmlessness, Daddy-long-legs have little trouble catching, wrapping and killing much larger Huntsman spiders. They have even been known to catch Redback spiders and Funnel-web spiders, both of which are far larger and more toxic than the Daddy-long-legs.

So what's their secret?

Certainly not their fangs, which are far too tiny to pierce human skin. It's their extremely long legs.

When a Huntsman, Redback or Funnel-web is walking along, the Daddy-long-legs can simply reach down and haul the more dangerous (but shorter-legged) spider into its web. It swiftly wraps up its prey before the captor can get close enough to harm the Daddy-long-legs. Once the more deadly spider is immobilised, it is easy to bite and kill.

Larger, heavier spiders are particularly vulnerable as they walk across a slippery smooth surface. If they do become entangled in a Daddy-long-legs' web, the smooth surface becomes treacherous because it offers no grip for the prey spider to hang on to.

So while their messy webs might make the Daddy-long-legs appear unsightly, they might well be preventing far more undesirable spiders from taking up residence in our homes.


Related Factsheets:

Huntsman Spider

Some Huntsman species live quite socially in groups of up to 300. They will help raise children together and even share food. In 2006 a new type of Huntsman was discovered. It's called the Tiger Huntsman and is bright orange. It's also one of the largest Huntsman and so far it's only been f..



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