The Story of Daddy Longlegs


By Daddy, I don’t mean the film directed by Mahesh Bhatt of the Mumbai Cinema. Nor do I mean father of someone having long legs.

By Daddy Longlegs I mean daddy with many long legs.

Daddy Longlegs is also known as Grandfather Grey Beard.

I wish to say, Grandfather Grey Beard is not a Grandfather of someone either, that too having Grey Beard.

Daddy Longlegs or the Grandfather Grey Beard is not someone whom you can guess about.

Well, Daddy Longlegs or the Grandfather Grey Beard is a Cellar Spider named as Pholcus taxonomically. It is a member of the family Pholcidae (C.L.Koch, 1850). It is an Aranchomorph spider or arachnid( not spider)that comes under the phylum Arthropoda.

About the Daddy Longlegs or the Grandfather Grey Beard, I have been onetime able to read in an American Book of Nature Study. Country boys taking care of grazing cows used to catch the Daddy Longlegs and ask him where or in which direction their cows were.

While trying hard to get away Daddy Longlegs might have been in a position to put out one or two of his long legs in any direction. For the country boys it was enough indication of the direction and they leave the Daddy Longlegs. They used to proceed in the same direction to search their cows.

Morphological Features

The main body of Daddy Longlegs is a compressed oval thing.

It is divided into head, cephalothorax, and abdomen. It has eight jointed legs. A leg is segmented into Coxa, Trochanter, Femur, and patella, Tibia, Metatarsus and Tarsus.

Coxa is the first segment which is fast fitted to the lower side of the body. Trochanter is mere a knob like structure. It is the second segment. Femur is the third segment which is larger and directed upward. Patella is the knee joint. It is followed by Tibia which is also a long segment. Tibia is followed by Metatarsus and Tarsus.

The first pair of legs is shorter while the second pair is longest. The third pair of legs of Daddy Longlegs is little shorter than the second pair of legs. The longest legs are used in exploring into the surrounding. Tips of these legs are capable of transmitting intelligence to the body.

Other Features

Daddy Longlegs travels extensively. He moves very fast. While running, its main body touches the ground from time to time. The front part of the head has Palpi which has four segments. It can taste a substance as per the suggestions of the second pair of legs.

A pair of Jaws lies beneath the Palpi.

Daddy Longlegs has two eyes located at the top. Eyes are located on each side of a knob located at the top.

Daddy has to clean his legs from time to time. For this he passes the whole leg through his jaws. When it loses its any of the legs by accident another leg grows on its place. This is why we sometimes see uneven sized legs on his body.

Daddy longlegs reproduces in the summer season where crops are stored. This is why he is also known as the harvest man or Hay maker. He is a night plower and remains hidden during the day. When it is exposed on its hiding place it runs fast towards the nearby darkest corner.

Our nature is full of mystery. Daddy Longlegs is also a mystery. He is a friend of farmers as it eats away small insects that may damage our crops or their grains.

Daddy Longlegs, Grandfather Grey Beard, Cephalothorax, harvestman, Haymaker

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