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
About the Daddy Long Legs Spider
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 Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson.
This is my favourite field guide to Australian spiders. It has a proper index. It has amazing photographs. If I had to find a weak point of it, it would be that there are so many photos that there is less writing than there could have been. I like photos though so it's all good. 464 pages.
From the publisher, "A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia uses photographs of live animals to enable identification of commonly encountered spiders to the family level and, in some cases, to genus and species. Featuring over 1300 colour photographs, it is the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published. With more than two-thirds of Australian spiders yet to be scientifically described, this book sets the scene for future explorations of our extraordinary Australian fauna."
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