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Daddy Long Legs Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Sara Clarke-Vivier

Sara is a recently graduated PhD in Education with interdisciplinary experience in K-12 education.

What has eight legs, but isn't actually a spider? The daddy long legs! In this lesson, you'll learn about what daddy long legs look like, where they live, and what makes their long legs very special.

What Is a Daddy Long Legs?

Have you ever seen a daddy long legs crawling across your backyard? You might have noticed their tiny bodies, and their very, very long legs and thought, ''Wow! That's one cool spider!'' Today, I'm going to tell you how that observation is right and wrong. Daddy long legs are very cool, but they aren't spiders! In fact, daddy long legs aren't spiders or insects!

However, like spiders, they belong to a family of animals called arachnids, which means they're related to spiders, scorpions, ticks, and mites. Unlike spiders, daddy long legs have a body that's fused; while spiders have two separate sections of their body, daddy long legs have a fused body without a separation between the parts.

Daddy long legs have a fused body
Close Up of Daddy Longlegs Body

There are two other things that make daddy long legs different from spiders. First, they don't make silk or spin webs to catch prey. Instead of purely hunting like spiders, daddy long legs are omnivores, meaning they eat small insects, plants, and fungi, and can live by scavenging, or feeding on dead organisms and other decomposing materials that they find on the forest floor. Second, while spiders are well-known for having eight eyes, daddy long legs only have two.

Where Do Daddy Long Legs Live?

There are over 10,000 different types of daddy long legs in the world. They can be found living on every continent except for Antarctica. Not only do daddy long legs live all over the world, but they have been around for a long time. Fossils of 300 and 400 million-year-old daddy long legs have been found in some parts of Europe. This means that daddy long legs were alive long before the dinosaurs, and have survived long after all the dinosaurs went extinct!

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