Read the following sections and answer questions 18 - 23.
Daddy Longlegs — Friends or Foes?
1 I have many fond memories from when I was little of playing with daddy longlegs. My own experiences cause me to be totally perplexed by other people’s reactions to the little critters. For example, last year, I scared the wits out of a player at football practice simply by dangling one of my long-legged buddies three inches from his nose. The unexpected visitor would have delighted me. However, the quarterback screamed liked a starving baby. He even refused to speak to me for the rest of the school year. Why would anyone react that way to a daddy longlegs?
2 I received the answer this year when my friend started speaking to me again. It seems that my friend, like many others, confused my daddy longlegs with the cellar spider. The cellar spider is one of the most common spiders. Many people frequently confuse the two creatures. Even scientists often refer to the cellar spider as the daddy longlegs spider. Additionally, my friend assumed all spiders had a poisonous bite. Neither of these assumptions is correct.
3 The real daddy longlegs is not a true spider; instead, it is an arthropod. Daddy longlegs are in the same class with spiders, but not in the same order. Both the real daddy longlegs and its namesake, the daddy longlegs spider, have eight long legs. However, a close inspection reveals major differences. The daddy longlegs has a single-segment body. The spider has a body with two segments.
4 Of course, many people might not want to get that up close and personal with a spider. Fortunately, watching the two creatures’ behavior from a polite distance may actually tell you more. Daddy longlegs like to hang out under logs or rocks. You might even spot one using its long, flexible legs to crawl over a bush or up a cabin wall. The spider, however, prefers life in a dark corner of a basement. Another difference can be seen in their dining habits. Daddy longlegs dine on plant juices. The spider will catch moths, flies, and any other insects that fly or cry in your basement. The spider’s victims become its dinner. There is a third observable difference. The daddy longlegs cannot produce silk, but its namesake spins sticky, stringy webs with its silk.
5 Daddy longlegs don’t bite, and daddy longlegs spiders, unlike many other spiders, can’t break skin. Therefore, you have no reason to panic whether it is a real daddy longlegs or a daddy longlegs spider. Remember this the next time you see a daddy longlegs.