Following a warm – mostly damp – summer the UK is apparently set to be invaded by around 200 billion daddy longlegs.
Some experts say the impending invasion is down to climate change and while it could spell annoyance for us humans, birds and other insects that eat them are in for a right old feast, reports The Sun.
But what exactly are the annoying little critters – are they spiders, or not? The simple answer is – it depends which type of daddy longlegs you’re referring to.
The insect commonly referred to as a daddy longlegs is definitely not a spider but a six-legged winged insect known as a Cranefly.
However, just to confuse things in the U.S, they refer to Harvestmen as daddy longlegs – these are arachnids but are not spiders, although they are very similar.
It doesn’t stop there though. To throw another one in the mixer, the house spider, Pholcus phalangioides, is also sometimes referred to as a daddy longlegs.
So, what are the main differences between all these various daddy longlegs? Well, aside from their long spindly legs they don’t actually have that much in common.
The most obvious differences between them all is that craneflies are the only ones that have wings and they only have six legs rather than eight.
Craneflies and Harvestmen only have two eyes – Pholcus have eight – and neither Harvestmen nor Craneflies produce silk and so don’t live in webs.
Oh, and Harvestmen have penises whereas spiders don’t. I think that pretty much covers it.