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Daddy-Long-Legs

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JumpingJack
24291.  Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:44 pm Reply with quote

Monday, September 22, 2003

LONDON (Reuters) -- Scientists have discovered fossils of the world's oldest genitals belonging to 400 million-year-old insects -- in ancient rocks in Scotland.

The penis of the ancient harvestmen insects, commonly known as a daddy-long-legs, was two-thirds the length of the body and remarkably similar to the modern-day species, New Scientist magazine said.

"The discovery of the world's oldest genitals proves that little has changed over the last 400 million years -- at least for daddy-long-legs," the magazine said.

Jason Dunlop and a team of researchers from Humbolt University in Berlin, Germany, who will present their findings at a conference in Aberdeen, also uncovered a long egg-laying organ called an ovipositor from a female.

"As well as genitals, the fossils have the oldest known arachnid respiratory system, suggesting harvestmen's ancestors had long since crawled out of the sea and learned to breathe," the magazine said Wednesday.

Harvestmen arachnids are sometimes mistaken for spiders but they are more closely related to ticks or mites because they do not spin webs.

The previous oldest penis, which dated back 100 million years and was found in Brazil, belonged an ostracod, an early crustacean related to crabs, shrimps and water fleas.

http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/09/22/arachnid.fossil.reut/index.html

 
Flash
24297.  Sat Sep 17, 2005 6:48 pm Reply with quote

There's a widespread internet factoid which states that Daddy Long Legs are highly toxic. This is untrue, and seems to arise from a confusion with a species of spider which uses the same name (and which may not be poisonous either, as it happens) but the myth

1) isn't universally known and
2) isn't all that interesting

so I don't propose to expand on the subject.

Daddy Long Legs are Crane Flies, aren't they?

 
JumpingJack
24303.  Sat Sep 17, 2005 9:28 pm Reply with quote

Well, Flashy, I think this is QI in fact.

Crane flies? Harvesters? Are they the same?

Is there a big difference between what 'Daddy-Long-Legs' means in the UK and the US?

This seems to be about as tough to track down as Eskimo words for snow...

 
Flash
24340.  Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:37 pm Reply with quote

The Wikipedia entry says:
Quote:
Daddy longlegs is an ambiguous common name referring to several unrelated terrestrial arthropods which have in common extremely long slender legs. Its use is highly regional, so the "Daddy longlegs" of one area is completely different from another.

They cite the Harvestman (Opiliones), which looks like the thing in my bathroom, the Crane Fly (Tipulidae), and the Cellar Spider (Pholcidae).

In the entry for the Cellar Spider it says:
Quote:
There is an urban legend stating that daddy long-legs spiders have extremely toxic venom, but their fangs cannot penetrate human skin. However there is no reliable research on the effects of pholcid venom in mammals, so any statement about their toxicity is just speculation. Additionally, pholcids do have a short fang structure (called uncate), but so do brown recluse spiders which can penetrate human skin and deliver potentially dangerous necrotoxin [1]. In 2004 the Discovery Channel show MythBusters set out to test this myth (season 1, ep. 13 Buried in Concrete). One of the show's hosts was bitten, and the bite produced little more than a mild shortlived burning sensation.

 
ficklefiend
28120.  Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:20 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
There's a widespread internet factoid which states that Daddy Long Legs are highly toxic. This is untrue, and seems to arise from a confusion with a species of spider which uses the same name (and which may not be poisonous either, as it happens) but the myth

1) isn't universally known and
2) isn't all that interesting

so I don't propose to expand on the subject.

Daddy Long Legs are Crane Flies, aren't they?


The number of people who have come up to me and said;

"Did you know that daddy-long-legs are the most poisonous insects on the planet but they just can't use their venom because they don't have teeth?"

ugh.

 
Natalie
28152.  Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:20 pm Reply with quote

ficklefiend wrote:

The number of people who have come up to me and said;

"Did you know that daddy-long-legs are the most poisonous insects on the planet but they just can't use their venom because they don't have teeth?"

ugh.


I learnt the hard way that that myth is untrue.

Tip: Never believe what your friends say without proof.

 
mattdaniels
29400.  Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:57 am Reply with quote

ficklefiend wrote:
The number of people who have come up to me and said;

"Did you know that daddy-long-legs are the most poisonous insects on the planet but they just can't use their venom because they don't have teeth?"

ugh.

I would venture to suggest these people may have recently viewed the Ricky Gervais live stand-up DVD entitled "Animals", during which Ricky discusses this "fact".

 
Corelina
31087.  Sun Nov 13, 2005 4:37 pm Reply with quote

hey, yeah, we recently had this discussion when a caring friend introduced us to the toxicology of daddy long-legs.. although their fangs were too weak, what happens if you accidentally eat one in your sleep (as it is a well known factoid that we eat several spiders in our sleep per year, thus quite a few in our entire life time) - does it slowly but surely poisen you, if you eat too many??

But phew, as this has proven to be the wrong spidey I can go to sleep without Angst again..

 
Pyreo
31116.  Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:38 pm Reply with quote

Yes, it is very well-known that spiders supposedly find their way into our mouths while we sleep, leading to a high number of spiders consumed by people every year... perhaps from wishful thinking I reasoned that there was some sort of jungle tribe which ate spiders as a main part of their diet and thus pushed up the worldwide average.

 
JumpingJack
31124.  Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:13 pm Reply with quote

Do spiders go into our mouths while we sleep?

Who says, eh?

 
eggshaped
31151.  Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:23 am Reply with quote

Quite right Jack, a very well-known fact but as usual for "well-known facts" it's complete bunk.

Quote:
In a 1993 PC Professional article, columnist Lisa Holst wrote about the ubiquitous lists of "facts" that were circulating via e-mail and how readily they were accepted as truthful by gullible recipients. To demonstrate her point, Holst offered her own made-up list of equally ridiculous "facts," among which was the statistic ... about the average person swallowing eight spiders per year, which she took from a collection of common misbeliefs printed in a 1954 book on insect folklore. In a "delicious" irony, Holst's propagation of this false "fact" has spurred it into becoming one of the most widely-circulated bits of misinformation to be found on the Internet.

S: Snopes

 
Pyreo
31213.  Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Hooray! I'm quite happy to be wrong for believing it if it means can sleep soundly. :)

 
Ciggywink
31227.  Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:50 pm Reply with quote

Spiders are probably pretty relieved too.

 
Stefan Linnemann
553952.  Thu May 14, 2009 10:17 am Reply with quote

Pyreo wrote:
Hooray! I'm quite happy to be wrong for believing it if it means can sleep soundly. :)


So am I. Allthough I have once woken up with a spider in my mouth, which I promptly spat out and swotted to full death. It was one of those fat body spiders, too. You know, body the size of a regular marble (half an inch?). I c an tell you it was the shortest time between waking and brushing my teeth, ever.

Stefan.

 
bemahan
553991.  Thu May 14, 2009 11:11 am Reply with quote

Stefan Linnemann wrote:
Pyreo wrote:
Hooray! I'm quite happy to be wrong for believing it if it means can sleep soundly. :)


So am I. Allthough I have once woken up with a spider in my mouth, which I promptly spat out and swotted to full death. It was one of those fat body spiders, too. You know, body the size of a regular marble (half an inch?). I c an tell you it was the shortest time between waking and brushing my teeth, ever.

Stefan.

I once went to sleep leaving a finished bowl of cornflakes on the bedside table. When I awoke, the first thing I saw was a massive spider (as above) doing press ups in the bowl about 3 inches from my face.

 

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