Cellar spider (Pholcus phalangioides)
Scientific Name: Pholcus phalangioides
Common Name: Daddy Long Legs, Granddaddy long-legs spider, Daddy long-legs spider, Daddy long-legger, Cellar spider, Vibrating spider, Daddy longlegs spider.
The Daddy long legs are an introduced spider during the early European colonial period. Pholcids are fragile spiders, the slender body being 2–10 mm in length with very long legs which may be up to 50 mm long. Pholcids are web-weaving spiders and are distributed worldwide and were accidentally introduced to New Zealand. They hang inverted in messy, irregular, tangled webs. These webs are constructed in dark and damp recesses, in caves, under rocks and loose bark, abandoned mammal burrows in undisturbed areas in buildings and cellars, hence the common name "cellar spiders". However, Pholcids are also quite commonly found in warm, dry places, such as household windows.
When a victim is trapped in the web it immobilises it by wrapping it in silk, not like other spiders that use venom.
There is an often-repeated urban myth that states ‘the daddy longlegs is the most poisonous spider in the world, but it can’t bite you because its fangs are too small’. The myth is incorrect at least in making claims that have no basis in known facts. There is no reference to any pholcid spider biting a human and causing any detrimental reaction. If these spiders were indeed deadly poisonous but couldn't bite humans, then the only way we would know that they are poisonous is by milking them and injecting the venom into humans.
A female Pholcus phalangioides carrying her egg sac
A video showing a Daddy long leg spider catching a whitetail spider
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