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The weird mating habits of daddy longlegs

If you find a daddy longlegs in your house, don’t be scared. “Daddy longlegs are actually pretty docile animals when it comes to interacting with humans,” says evolutionary biologist Kasey Fowler-Finn, who studies the arachnids at St. Louis University. Specifically, she studies daddy longlegs sex. She is using this common group of arachnids (they’re not spiders) to explore how mating behaviors can be shaped by evolutionary forces.

Daddy longlegs — which can be found in forests, in leaf litter, on tree trunks and, of course, in your garage in eastern North America — are a group of harvestmen with elongated legs. And like all harvestmen, their second pair of legs, which is used in sensory exploration instead of walking, is particularly long.