The Daddy Long Legs:  Spider or Insect?

Purpose:  Controversy has always surrounded the daddy long legs spider.  Some wonder if it is in fact classified as a spider (arachnid) or if it is in fact an insect. This week, Scientific AmeriKen will hope to lay this debate to rest as the daddy long legs is put under the scope.

Hypothesis:  The hypothesis of this experiment will be that the daddy long legs spider is in fact a spider. This reasoning behind this hypothesis is based solely on the name of the spider, even though there exist other names for species that are completely wrong in describing the species (i.e. in California there is a spanish moss which is neither from spain nor is a moss) , however, the hypothesis stands on the assumption that whoever named the spider had the knowledge of what a spider is.

Equipment:  Needed for this experiment was one daddy long legs spider.  Optional equipment includes microscope or magnifying glass.

Procedure:  The general procedure of this experiment is to make general observations on the structures of the daddy long legs, and compare against known differences between spiders and insects.

On the picture at left, it is observed that the daddy long legs has two body segments. Outlined in green is the Abdomen of the specimen, outlined in blue is the Cephalothorax. The Cephalothorax is a body segment where the head and the thorax are fused together to form one segment. Pictured below is an enlarged scan of the eyes of the spider.
Although it was not possible to confirm whether the eyes were compound eyes like that of a fly, or if they were not.  However, it was believed that the in fact were not compound.
Judging by this picture on the left, it appears as though the daddy long legs has a total of 8 legs.

Below is a picture of a spider and beside it the same picture however ran through a couple of Adobe Photoshop graphic effects. Although this provides no useful information, it does go to show the achievements of wasted time. 

Conclusion:  Judging from the results, 2 body segments, non-compound eyes, and 8 legs, it is the opinion of Scientific AmeriKen that the Daddy Longlegs is in fact a spider. Typically, insects have 3 body segments as seen in ants, bees, and houseflys as well as 6 legs, although some insects may have more or less. Spiders on the other hand typically have 8 legs, and do not have compound eyes, but rather 2-3 pairs of "simple eyes".  Furthur research will be completed into this matter as soon as a microscope can be aquired. Until that time, Scientific AmeriKen will stand on the other data and proclaim the hypothesis to be proven true.


A recent letter has informed Scientific AmeriKen that there are several organisms that are referred to as a "Daddy Long Legs". The one examined in this experiment is in fact a spider, also called a Cellar Spider or Daddy Long Legs Spider. A separate organism also called a Daddy Long Legs is not a spider. Thus might be the reason for all this confusion in the first place. More information can be found here: Click Here. Thank you Mrs. Calanko for your letter informing of this information.

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