Daddy-long-legs: It's all about the waist

Two new fallen trees across Caddo Trail made me wish for longer legs. But then this Brown Daddy-long-legs reminded me how tangled up I might get. Be careful what you wish for, a second reminder today.

Brown Daddy-long-legs, Caddo Trail July 20, 2014

Between the fallacies of the internet, and the fudging of memory, I'm foggy on the whole issue of Daddy-long-legs. Growing up I remember playing with "Granddaddy-long-legs" far more than roly-poly doodle-bugs. We knew Granddaddies were harmless, and spent untold hours sitting on the warm concrete driveway redirecting the skinny not-spiders from their intended destinations with stick and stone obstacle courses or just our hands. We knew the Granddaddies lived in the rock walls between yards. I have no recollection of pulling legs off these little creatures, or anything really mean.

Those long ago Nebraska Granddaddies were much smaller than the Brown Daddy-long-legs I spy these days at Oak Point and Arbor Hills Nature Preserves. But I'm still confused about why these eight-legged creatures are not spiders.

Waist not, spider not. Oak Point today.

It turns out that spiders have two distinct body parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Insects have three body parts, the head, thorax, and abdomen. Daddy-long-legs have just one body part with no "waist" between their cephalothorax and abdomen.

Also foggy in my memory was a sculpture we called "Granddaddy Long-legs" at the Sheldon Art Museum as kids in Lincoln. It's by Alexander Calder, and called "Snake on Arch", and it looks less like a spider than I remembered. Maybe I had it confused with spider sculptures by Louise Bourgeois. Before I add Daddy-long-leg photos from Arbor Hills Nature Preserve on the west side of Plano, I have some fun links for Daddy-long-legs in poetry, sculpture, and furniture.
 Daddy-long-legs on the rocks at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve June 9, 2011:

No comments: