Brown house spider or brown recluse spider
Loxosceles reclusa

Description: Brown Recluse spiderThe Brown Recluse spider, also known as fiddleback spider, brown fiddler, or violin spider, may be cream colored, blackish gray, or brown to black with obvious “fiddle” on back of head and thorax. The darker violin shape is located on the upper side of the body with the neck of the violin pointing towards the read of the spider.  It has a chunky body with long, slim legs 2.5 to 4 centimeters (1 to 1 1/2 inches) long (typically they are less than an inch in size).  Its belly is covered with fine, short hairs, giving it the appearance of soft fur.

Habitat: Forward look at the Brown Recluse spiderTypically found in dark, warm, dry environments such as under debris, rocks, and logs, in caves and other dark places.  Around human dwellings, they may be found in shoes, in clothes stacks, inside work gloves, or other places that are infrequently disturbed by humans.  They are nocturnal and hunt at night.

Distribution: North America.

Symptoms: The poison produced by the Brown Recluse is more poisonous than a rattlesnake’s poison but does less damage because it is injected in much smaller amounts.  Deaths are rare and typically only occur in very young children.  The bite often goes unnoticed at first because the bite is usually painless.  Symptoms develop within 2-8 hours after the bite and include severe pain at the site of the bite, itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle pain.  The bite mark may be slightly red and if examined closely, fang marks can sometimes be seen.  Most commonly the bite becomes firm and heals within a few weeks but occasionally massive tissue damage can erupt.  Blistering and necrosis (death) of the skin and tissue around the bite can occur in these cases.

Treatment: Treatment includes application of ice to the bite and elevation of the bite area if possible.  Wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water and avoid any strenuous activity that can cause the spider’s venom to spread throughout the nearby skin and tissue.



Top of Brown Recluse spider

Underside of Brown Recluse spider

Brown Recluse spider size compared to a penney

Brown Recluse spider