Home / Sicariidae Spiders / Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)

Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)

The brown recluse spider, belonging to the Sicariidae family is one among the three species in North America, besides the Chilean recluse and black widow, known for their medically significant venom. Indigenous to most parts of America, it is mainly spotted in the central and southern parts of the U.S.

Scientific Classification

Brown Recluse Spider

Physical Description &Identification

Adult

Size: They are 6-20 mm (0.24 -0.79 inches) in size, though they can be larger.

Color: As its name suggests, it has a light brown body with blackish-gray, whitish, or dark brown tinges. Its cephalothorax, on the other hand, maybe yellowish-brown or light brown.

Other characteristics: The dorsal section of the brown recluse’s cephalothorax contains markings and a black line, forming a violin-like pattern lying pointed towards the abdomen.  Unlike most other spiders, the brown recluse has six eyes (one medial, two lateral pairs).

Brown Recluse Size

Eggs

The silken egg sacs, off-white in color with a diameter of 1/3 inch contains about 50 eggs on an average.

Brown Recluse Egg Sac

Spiderlings

The spiderlings of this species come out of the egg case in about 36 days, taking a year to mature. The immature ones look similar to the adults though they have a light brown body. Moreover, by the time they are juveniles, this species attain mobility and can travel for long distances. Even the spiderlings can inject venom that could cause serious reactions in mankind.

Baby Brown Recluse

The Web

Their webs are irregular and loosely constructed mostly found in dark, dingy areas. However, being hunting spiders, they generally do not take the help of their web for capturing preys.

Brown Recluse Spider Web

Is the Brown Recluse Spider Poisonous and Does It Bite

As mentioned above, the brown recluse spider (males, females as well as juveniles) is potentially dangerous since it possesses a hemotoxic venom that could require medical attention.  The symptoms of the bite could vary from mild, moderate to severe. In fact, in most cases, the bites are without necrosis, with the effect being not more than a bee sting. However, there have been exceptions where the bites have produced severe impact resulting in dermonecrotic lesions.

Having mentioned about the severity of its bite, it is still essential to say that these species are not aggressive and would bite only when provoked or disturbed. Many victims have reported being attacked by the brown recluse while attempting to wear clothes or shoes left untouched for many years.

There have been rare cases about death from this spider and children below seven as well as those having a weak immune system are more susceptible to fatalities.

Brown Recluse Image

What are the Symptoms of a Brown Recluse Spider Bite

The symptoms could be mild to severe, depending on the intensity of the bite. In majority cases, the pain and itchiness are experienced between 2 and 8 hours from being bitten and in case of extremities, the situation may worsen within a day or two.

Common symptoms include redness, itching, and pain in the area of the bite, alongside a deep sore. Fever, weakness, chills, nausea and joint pains could even occur and in rare cases, there may be seizures and under severe circumstances, the person may even go into a coma.

Treatment

The treatment depends on the extremities of the symptoms and may vary from one person to the other. Some of the common treatments undertaken by medical personals include pain medication, tetanus immunization, antibiotics, and even antihistamines.

Brown Recluse Spider Picture

Quick Facts  

Lifespan 1 to 2 years
Distribution The south-central and Midwestern parts of the United States including areas of southeastern Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, western Georgia and northern parts of Kentucky
Habitat Dry, dark, and dingy areas, alongside nesting places which are undisturbed like sheds, woodpiles, garages, and closets
Common Predators Birds, cats wasps and other spider species like cat-faced, wolf and crab
Diet Soft-bodied insects like cockroaches, flies, crickets, and moths

Did You Know

  • The violin pattern on their body has earned them the nicknames violin, fiddle back, and brown fiddler.
  • Another spider of notorious reputation is the hobo spider which is also reddish-brown but different from the brown recluse in appearance, as the former has a distinct pattern on its abdomen not present in the latter.

Image Credits: Canr.msu.edu, Resize.hswstatic.com, Pestworld.org, I.ytimg.com, Bioweb.uwlax.edu, Brown-recluse-spiders.net, Ask.extension.org

The brown recluse spider, belonging to the Sicariidae family is one among the three species in North America, besides the Chilean recluse and black widow, known for their medically significant venom. Indigenous to most parts of America, it is mainly spotted in the central and southern parts of the U.S.

Brown Recluse Spider

Physical Description &Identification

Adult

Size: They are 6-20 mm (0.24 -0.79 inches) in size, though they can be larger.

Color: As its name suggests, it has a light brown body with blackish-gray, whitish, or dark brown tinges. Its cephalothorax, on the other hand, maybe yellowish-brown or light brown.

Other characteristics: The dorsal section of the brown recluse’s cephalothorax contains markings and a black line, forming a violin-like pattern lying pointed towards the abdomen.  Unlike most other spiders, the brown recluse has six eyes (one medial, two lateral pairs).

Brown Recluse Size

Eggs

The silken egg sacs, off-white in color with a diameter of 1/3 inch contains about 50 eggs on an average.

Brown Recluse Egg Sac

Spiderlings

The spiderlings of this species come out of the egg case in about 36 days, taking a year to mature. The immature ones look similar to the adults though they have a light brown body. Moreover, by the time they are juveniles, this species attain mobility and can travel for long distances. Even the spiderlings can inject venom that could cause serious reactions in mankind.

Baby Brown Recluse

The Web

Their webs are irregular and loosely constructed mostly found in dark, dingy areas. However, being hunting spiders, they generally do not take the help of their web for capturing preys.

Brown Recluse Spider Web

Is the Brown Recluse Spider Poisonous and Does It Bite

As mentioned above, the brown recluse spider (males, females as well as juveniles) is potentially dangerous since it possesses a hemotoxic venom that could require medical attention.  The symptoms of the bite could vary from mild, moderate to severe. In fact, in most cases, the bites are without necrosis, with the effect being not more than a bee sting. However, there have been exceptions where the bites have produced severe impact resulting in dermonecrotic lesions.

Having mentioned about the severity of its bite, it is still essential to say that these species are not aggressive and would bite only when provoked or disturbed. Many victims have reported being attacked by the brown recluse while attempting to wear clothes or shoes left untouched for many years.

There have been rare cases about death from this spider and children below seven as well as those having a weak immune system are more susceptible to fatalities.

Brown Recluse Image

What are the Symptoms of a Brown Recluse Spider Bite

The symptoms could be mild to severe, depending on the intensity of the bite. In majority cases, the pain and itchiness are experienced between 2 and 8 hours from being bitten and in case of extremities, the situation may worsen within a day or two.

Common symptoms include redness, itching, and pain in the area of the bite, alongside a deep sore. Fever, weakness, chills, nausea and joint pains could even occur and in rare cases, there may be seizures and under severe circumstances, the person may even go into a coma.

Treatment

The treatment depends on the extremities of the symptoms and may vary from one person to the other. Some of the common treatments undertaken by medical personals include pain medication, tetanus immunization, antibiotics, and even antihistamines.

Brown Recluse Spider Picture

Quick Facts  

Lifespan 1 to 2 years
Distribution The south-central and Midwestern parts of the United States including areas of southeastern Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, western Georgia and northern parts of Kentucky
Habitat Dry, dark, and dingy areas, alongside nesting places which are undisturbed like sheds, woodpiles, garages, and closets
Common Predators Birds, cats wasps and other spider species like cat-faced, wolf and crab
Diet Soft-bodied insects like cockroaches, flies, crickets, and moths

Did You Know

  • The violin pattern on their body has earned them the nicknames violin, fiddle back, and brown fiddler.
  • Another spider of notorious reputation is the hobo spider which is also reddish-brown but different from the brown recluse in appearance, as the former has a distinct pattern on its abdomen not present in the latter.

Image Credits: Canr.msu.edu, Resize.hswstatic.com, Pestworld.org, I.ytimg.com, Bioweb.uwlax.edu, Brown-recluse-spiders.net, Ask.extension.org

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