Spider Sunday: Daddy long-legs

After a few weeks of not blogging because of vacation (I visited the gorgeous island that is Ireland) and sickness (ugh!), Spider Sunday is back! This time with a spider I wanted to add to my photographic collection for a long time. The (in)famous daddy long-legs spider (Pholcus phalangioides). Normally, I see them everywhere. But whenever I actively looked for one, they were nowhere to be found…until last week when I finally managed to snap a few pictures.

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Daddy long-legs is a name that is used for a couple of different species, depending on the region you’re in. So to be specific, I’m talking about the spider of the Pholcidae family. Not the harvestman or the crane fly. Another common name given to the particular species is skull spider, because of the shape of its cephalothorax (head/chest area).

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Rumor has it that this spider is very venomous. Fear not, dear reader, because despite its badass name and reputation, this spider is pretty harmless for humans. Like other spiders it has venom to kill its prey, but they won’t be able to kill humans with it. Rather, this spider actually feasts on other spiders, some much larger than itself, and in doing so helps to keep the spider population in check! To catch prey, the spider throws non-sticky threads unto its prey. The prey gets entangled and when it stops moving, the spider kills and eats the prey. Sometimes it even pretends to be a prey to another spider by gently tapping on the web of the unsuspected spider. The spider comes out thinking it has caught some food, only to become a meal himself.

 

I found my arachnid model in my house where it was hiding in a dark corner. In order to snap a good picture of this spider, I tried to spur the spider on towards a brighter location, but it did not want to cooperate with me. Not surprising, since it loves dark conditions. At first, it started to vibrate, a manoeuvre they do to escape, and when that did not work, it ran really fast whenever I came near with the camera. So eventually I put it outside (because otherwise it would have died a sure death at the hands of my mother…) and there it stayed in one place long enough for me to take these pictures. Quite a challenging spider to photograph!

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