October 19, 2012 11:30 am
Creeping about in a forgotten cave in Laos, a giant dwells. A huge, 13-inch long harvestman—better known as a daddy longlegs— turned up while a crew was filming a TV show nearby. Arachnologist Peter Jager from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt happened to be on the set, and the spider expert snatched up the giant creature, recognizing it as a one-of-a-kind find.
Jager couldn’t figure out what species it belonged to, however, so he enlisted the help of a harvestman expert who also couldn’t find any published record that matched the Lao longlegs. They concluded that it must be a new species, though they’ve yet to give it a name.
The new daddy longlegs is one of the largest harvestmen ever found, though Our Amazing Planet points out that it doesn’t break the record, which is held by a South American species with a leg span of 13.4 inches. Contrary to popular belief, harvestmen are not spiders. Rather, they belong to a group of related arachnids known as opiliones that lack fangs and venom. This doesn’t stop a popular myth claiming that daddy longlegs are extremely venomous which—unlike this latest monster specimen—is only the stuff of urban legend.
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