It was the biggest daddy long legs I have every seen - almost 3 inches (8 cm) from tip to tip.
Daddy longlegs is a common animal of woodlands and dense vegetation. Daddy longlegs, or harvestman, belong to the same class as spiders, mites, ticks and scorpions but are in a class by themselves.
Daddy longlegs have eight legs like spiders but otherwise they are quite different. The body is an egg-shaped glob perched between and slightly below the first joint of the legs. The legs look too long to be controlled by the small body and appear to impair the animal’s vision. The two eyes are placed back to back on turrets in the middle of the daddy longlegs’ back. Two small arms (pedipalps) at the front of the body are used to steer food into range between the jaws.
The most important of the daddy longlegs’ legs are the extra-long second pair. They touch the ground ahead of the others and are equipped with special sense organs that allow the daddy longlegs to get an advanced taste and feel of the ground ahead.
Daddy longlegs must drink often and are therefore found in moist areas. The two front pairs of legs are rested on the surface of the water and the jaws are lowered until the animal can drink.
These tiny animals do not spin webs and are not capable of killing or poisoning their prey and thus resort to eating dead animals or the eggs of insects and spiders. They will eat bread or animal fat and therefore do quite well in a home terrarium.
Daddy longlegs have a hard outer shell that must be shed during the molt and at regular intervals as the animal grows. The skeleton splits at the front end and the body partly emerges through the gap. The jaws then bundle the bases of the legs together and force them toward the jaws, which draw each one of the legs out through the slit in the old skeleton. The new skeleton is soft at first but then it hardens and expands to allow for more growth.
Daddy longlegs do not need all eight legs to get by, in fact in some cases they are able to get along on only two. They are unable to grow replacement legs, as some other insects and animals do.
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Now my problem: I have lost track as to where my daddy longlegs went to, and I'm sure I will bump into it again at an inopportune moment!