Daddy Long-Legs Spiders: Facts for Kids

Brown Daddy-long-legs (Phalangium opilio) image by Bruce MacQueen from

Although the daddy long-legs --- also known as the harvestman --- resembles a spider, it is not one. It is actually a bug of the order Opiliones. Harvestmen are usually seen in late summer and in fall, which may be where they get their name from, since this is the time crops are harvested.

Similarities to Spiders

Spiders have eight legs, and so do daddy long-legs. This is why most people think of them as spiders upon first sight. Both spiders and daddy long-legs belong to the arachnid family, according to Kid Zone. As with spiders, there is more than one species of daddy long-legs. Some have long legs and some have shorter legs, according to Critter Zone.

Differences From Spiders

Unlike spiders, daddy long-legs do not spin webs. They forage for their food rather than catch it in a web, and they are nonvenomous. According to Critter Zone, the harvestman is closely related to the mite. Another difference is that the daddy long-legs has three body segments, instead of two like spiders. Harvestmen also have legs that have seven sections that are easily broken off. This trick helps them distract predators.

What They Eat

Daddy long-legs like to forage for food at nighttime. They are usually carnivorous, eating live invertebrate prey. Some species will even dine on dead animals. They are specified as "usually carnivorous" because some of them will also feed on the juices from plants, fruits and vegetables, which actually makes them omnivorous.

Where They Live

Harvestmen are commonly found in most places throughout the United States. They are also found in Brazil, Argentina and even the Canary Islands. Some dwell in caves, and some are found in rainforests. And they can always be seen in the fall crawling around in the woods and under fallen leaves.