Cellar spiders and harvestmen are often confused and this happens because the term “daddy longlegs” is used for both of them. In this article, we’ll clear up the confusion.
A cellar spider is a Pholciade spider that is also sometimes called daddy long-leg spider, or daddy long-leg, for short. However, there’s also another type of arachnid called the Opiliones, or the harvestmen, which are also commonly called daddy longlegs.
Harvestmen are just one of the several spider species that are often mistaken for Daddy Long Legs
Cellar Spiders vs Harvestmen
|1. Is it a Spider?||Spider.||Not a spider.|
|3. Venom||Very Weak.||None.|
|5. Eyes||8 eyes.||2 eyes.|
|7. Body Shape||2 distinct sections||1 section (no waist)|
|8. Most Active?||Year-Round.||Autumn.|
|9. Habitat||Mostly indoors.||Mostly outdoors.|
The term “daddy longlegs” is used for two different species:
- Cellar spiders (Pholcidae spiders) – which we’ve discussed above
- Opiliones (harvestmen) – which is a type of arachnid that also has long legs, but it’s technically not a spider.
So, cellar spiders are also called daddy longlegs. They share the name with another species called Opiliones, or harvestmen, which are arachnids that are often found in nature.
Cellar Spider – Overview
Cellar spiders are also sometimes called daddy long-leg spiders, which causes some confusion.
Pholcidae spider is the official name of cellar spiders. These are the spiders that we commonly see in our homes because they spend the majority of their lives in houses.
They like corners and darker areas of our houses where they can create, which they will hang from.
Pholcidea spiders, or daddy long legs, are carnivores, which means they’ll eat insects for their survival. They will do that by using their webs to capture the insects and other animals first before injecting venom to kill them off completely.
Fun Fact: Cellar spiders are often seen as an effective type of insect control! They even scare off other, more venemous, spiders.
Cellar spiders, or daddy long leg spiders, tend to hide inside their webs which they’ll create in corners. They are known for their long legs and their small bodies, which makes them a very familiar sight for many homeowners who encounter these spiders regularly.
Even though cellar spiders contain venom, they’re not dangerous to humans. They use their venom to paralyze their prey, but it’s not nearly potent enough to cause damage to us.
In addition, their fangs are small and not powerful enough to penetrate human skin, so they don’t have the ability to harm us.
Harvestmen – Overview
Harvestmen, often also known as granddaddy longlegs, are not spiders. They are anachrids, which is a class of animal that includes creatures like spiders and scorpions.
Unlike spiders (including the cellar spider), they cannot produce silk, lack fangs, lack venom, and can actually chew rather than having to liquidate their food.
Furthermore, spiders generally have 8 eyes while harvestmen have just 2 eyes.
However, like spiders, harvestmen do have 8 legs.
Because of their ability to chew, harvestmen eat both plants and animals (they are omnivores) whereas spiders like the cellar spider are pure carnivores – they only eat animals.
You’ll also notice harvestmen gathering in large groups to protect themselves from predators, which is something cellar spiders don’t tend to do. Another way they protect themselves is by spraying out a noxious defensive chemical.
7 Key Differences
1. They’re Different Species
First of all, cellar spiders (or daddy long leg spiders) are a completely different species when compared to daddy longlegs (Opiliones, or harvestmen).
The harvestmen belong to the category of arachnids but they are their own species, so they are not spiders. Pholcidae, or cellar spiders, however, belong to the category of spiders, which is a major difference between the two.
This is one of the major differences that separate these two species, so you should be able to know the differences between the two just by looking at the appearance.
2. Harvestmen are Thicker
Another crucial difference is when you take a look at the appearance of both animals. Harvestmen will appear to be much thicker than cellar spiders, because of their thick and armored body.
The body of a cellar spider is much thinner, which is mainly because it doesn’t need as much protection as the harvestmen because they are protected by their webs. You’ll see right away that harvestmen will appear to be thicker in appearance than cellar spiders, which is a good way to separate the two.
You’ll also notice that harvestmen appear to have just one round body whereas cellar spiders have a defined waist, like a figure 8, meaning you can see two body parts.
3. Leg Differences
Another crucial difference between these two species is if you take a look at their legs and their proportions.
Harvestmen and cellar spiders both have long legs, which is why they’re called daddy longlegs in the first place.
However, the legs of a harvestman will look to be much more crooked and not as straight as of cellar spiders, which is why you should be able to see the difference immediately.
4. Harvestmen are Not Venomous
Harvestmen, or daddy longlegs, don’t have venom as the cellar spiders do. Instead, they will rely on their strong predatory skills to capture their prey, which they will use to capture insects. However, they will also eat all types of foods, including hummus and fungi, which makes them more versatile than cellar spiders.
Cellar spiders, on other hand, do contain venom, which they will use when attacking their prey. Their venom is not as potent as the venom of other spiders, but it will be strong enough to kill or paralyze their prey, especially because they tend to go after the smaller insects in the first place.
The venom of cellar spiders also acts as a form of defense when they’re attacked, although the harvestmen have very strong defensive mechanisms themselves. They use techniques like freezing or crypsis (body patterns that blend in with surroundings) to fend off attackers, which makes them hard to capture.
5. Harvestmen Don’t Build Webs
Another key difference between the two is that cellar spiders create webs, while harvestmen don’t.
Opiliones don’t have silk glands, which makes it impossible for them to build webs just like cellar spiders do, for example. This is why they will have to rely on other means of survival and defense.
Cellar spiders, on the other hand, are quite famous for their web creation techniques. They like to create webs in corners and hidden spots where they will hang from the webs and wait for their prey to get captured. The web will vibrate when this happens, which will alert the spider and cause it to react.
6. Cellar Spiders are Active All the Time
Cellar spiders will spend all their time active, even though they will spend a large portion of their time stationary in their web.
On the other hand, harvestmen will be at their most active during harvest, which is where they earned their name from. They like to come forwards during late summer and autumn where you might spot them around your home or in the field, where they will preside on leaves of trees and other plants, most likely.
Other Spider Comparisons:
Hopefully, you now know the difference between a cellar spider and a daddy-long leg. The bottom line is that cellar spiders are also sometimes called daddy long leg spiders, but there’s also another species that’s called a daddy longlegs, and that is the harvestman or the Opiliones.
These are not spiders like cellar spiders, but they do share some similarities with the cellar spider – most notably, their long legs, which causes people to sometimes confuse the two.