There exists some controversy concerning which arachnid species is truly a “daddy long-legs” spider. Most people use the term “daddy long-legs” to refer to the commonly spotted cellar spiders which reside within homes. Others use the term to refer to a non-spider arachnid known as harvestman. In any case, everyone can agree that daddy long-legs refers to arachnids with unusually long legs. The spider species commonly known as the “giant daddy long-legs” is aptly named on account of its massive size which can reach 7 inches in leg span. This spider species is terrifying to look at, and spotting one within a home is unthinkable. However, this species, Artema atlanta, is sometimes spotted within homes in Arizona and Hawaii.
As of 2017, only eight spider species have been added to the Artema genus, which indicates how understudied these massive spiders are in all regions of the world. Most spiders in the Artema genus dwell within north Africa, the Middle East, South America and Asia, but one species has been documented in North America. The Artema atlanta species in the US is the largest of all eight know Artema spider species, and they dwell naturally within dark and sheltered habitats like caves, holes and crevices, but they can also be found within homes and buildings, most often within dark basements.
Artema spider species can be distinguished from other spider species by their enormous size, but not much is known about these spiders, and researchers state that using available reference materials to identify these spiders is next to impossible. Artema spider species dwell within dry habitats, but some can be found in subtropical regions as well. The Artema atlanta species in Arizona is rarely spotted, but when they are, it is usually within homes. According to one survey, the Artema atlantis species was spotted only three times in Arizona and Hawaii, and all three of these sightings occurred indoors. This species may be the most recognizable spider species ever documented due to its massive leg span, but most specimens are brown in color, while others may appear to have a light-brown or tan hue.
Were you aware of the existence of giant daddy long-legs in Arizona?