The Daddy Long Legs myth (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1447/is-a-daddy-long-legs-the-most-poisonous-spider) was emphatically busted by the Mythbusters, who showed that the spider could indeed penetrate human skin with their fangs, and that their venom was not fatal to humans. BTW, Hyneman and Savage could legitimately challenge Cecil’s claim to be the world’s smartest human.
Of course the Mythbusters episode was aired five years after the column.
I happened to read the column last night, and I almost started a thread. This stuck out:
Dogster seems to be saying that the harvestman, an arachnid of the order Opiliones that is known as ‘daddy long legs’ is ‘not technically a spider’ – and he is correct. But the ‘daddy long legs’ that is being asked about is a spider of the order Pholcidae. I was going to call him on that, but he later correctly identifies the creature as ‘a spider: Pholcus phalangioides.’
I think the column should have indicated that the harvestman is not a spider, but the arachnid being asked about is, indeed, a spider.
You mean like this?
As I said. It seemed like an afterthought, and should have been included in the first paragraph.
Your mistake is in thinking that the question is “clearly” about the spider known as the Daddy Longlegs, when it isn’t clearly about that. It is indeed the harvestman that I have always heard as being the one that is super poisonous, not the real spider.