Oct 12, 2009

Grandfather Graybeard

Photo source: Michael Salvato
Why is this webless, venomless, mite-relative called a harvestman? They harvest nothing! Nothing!

It's because of the time of year they're most frequently spotted: late summer and fall. In fact, their names in French (faucheux: haymaker, and faucheurs: reaper) and in German (Afterspinnen: pseudo-spiders, and Zimmermaenner: carpenters) mean similar things.

They're also called daddy-long-legs or harvest-spiders, shepherd-spiders, grandfather-graybeards (which is what I want to be called when I'm an old man).

This has always been confusing, because where I grow up, daddy-long-legs do spin webs, very messy ones, and they're all over the place at all times. For those of you who are similarly confused, here's your answer: what we've been calling daddy-long-legs are also called cellar spiders, and they are true spiders, unlike the harvestman.


Lex (Alexandra) said...

In The Netherlands they're called a 'hooiwagen', which basically means 'hay wagon'. Very similar to all the other (European) names again! Cheers!

Claire Q said...

Where I come from, the Crane Fly is also called "daddy-long-legs" and it is not a spider either!

Nicole said...

Wow, never heard of a crane fly, but that is what we would call a may fly. Harvestman body looks like it might glow a bit. How interesting.

Jennifer said...

In North Carolina we call them Grand Daddy Long Legs.

Anonymous said...


lurgus said...

That lump on the top of the body is a 'turret' where the eyes are situated.