Daddy Long Legs Spider
Family: Pholcidae (Cellar Spiders, Daddy Long-Legs Spiders).
Size: Body 2-10 mm in length with legs up to 50 mm
There used to be a rumour that daddy long-legs spiders have the most toxic venom of all spiders, but their fangs are too weak to penetrate our skin. This has since been debunked on both counts - the TV show Mythbusters demonstrated that their fangs can bite through skin (though they really had to try), and their venom is quite weak acting, even on other insects.
Perhaps partly due to this rumour, there was another rumour that if you ate a daddy long-legs spider you would die. This is even more false, as not only is the venom quite weak, but venom (which acts in the blood stream) is different to poison (which acts when ingested). Therefore eating even highly venomous spiders can be safe, though it would absolutely not be a good idea to deliberately try this out on living or dead spiders.
Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 4164 x 2653.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2190 x 1587.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney.
Public domain photo from Wikipedia. High Resolution 1280 x 960.
A Guide to the Spiders of Australia, by Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr, and Paul Zborowski.
This is a great field guide to Australian spiders. It's a toss up between this one and Spiderwatch for my second favourite spider field guide. This one is a lot different to Spiderwatch. It's got more than twice the number of pages. It's got much better photos. It comes with a soft clear plastic cover protecting the usual soft cover. On the other side of the argument, it's got no index other than an index of family names (i.e. no index of actual spider names, not their common names and not their scientific names). Which makes it hard to find things in it, if you don't know what family they are in. Also it's based on families and not individual spider species. It's still a wonderful book though.
From the publisher, "This definitive guide to the subject, written by three experts in the field, offers a window into a fascinating world. Notorious species such as the Redback and the Sydney Funnel-web sit alongside less wellknown but equally intriguing spiders such as the ant-mimics and net-casting spiders. The introduction covers spider structure, evolution, reproduction, silk and venom, together with peculiarities of the family within an Australian context.
The two main sections of the book deal with Trapdoor Spiders and Modern Spiders, and within each section there is a chapter on each of the 80 or so spider families that occur in Australia. Each is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the subjects, with more than 30 images per family for some of the larger groups such as the jumping spiders, and many rare images never before published. "
Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)
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