The Reason Daddy Long-Legs Aren't Considered Spiders

Some people really, really hate spiders. As soon as those eight legs come creeping around the corner, these folks run away screaming, probably terrified that they're going to accidentally swallow them in their sleep. Like it or not, though, spiders are good for you. They're good for your home, good for your health, good for the environment, and good for inspiring the coolest superhero in comics history. You should never kill the spiders in your house, because as creepy as you might find them, they're basically your best arachnid buddies. 

One spider that doesn't seem to freak out arachnophobes, oddly enough, is the daddy long-legs. Seriously, who couldn't love a critter with a cute name like that? Big Daddy! Despite their towering, spindly legs, there's something about a daddy long-legs that's inherently less creepy-crawly than an ordinary spider.

Want to know why? Because they aren't spiders at all, actually. Whoops.

Wait, so what are these eight-legged critters, then?

Wait, stop the presses: if a daddy long-legs isn't a spider, then what the heck is it? 

An Opilione, actually. Opiliones, which you're also free to refer to as "harvestmen" (though why would you want to?), is a separate order of arachnid, according to LiveScience. Now, sure, a daddy long-legs might closely resemble a spider at first glance, but take a closer look: if you've ever drawn a spider, you know all about that deeply segmented body, but the Opilione body resembles a singular, cylindrical pill, which just happens to have eight ridiculously huge legs stapled to it. Furthermore, a daddy long-legs "spider" is not poisonous, despite those amusing fairy tales your evil brother used to taunt you with, it only possesses two eyes, and — perhaps most damningly of all — it doesn't spin webs. Say whaaa? Seriously, think about it. When you see Opiliones outside, you'll find them creeping up trees or hiding under rocks ... but never in an Opilione web, because such things don't exist. Weird.

Believe it or not, Opiliones have more in common with scorpions than they do spiders, which is a dizzying puzzle to wrap your head around. The great arachnid umbrella not only includes Opiliones, spiders, and scorpions, but also ticks, mites, and pseudoscorpions. There's also a separate order of arachnid called solifugae, which you know as — get ready! — camel spiders, according to Mental Floss. Yes, that's right. Camel spiders aren't spiders, either. 

If this is all a bit confusing, just know this: none of these creatures are insects. Those guys have six legs, and usually a set of wings.