The Brown Recluse Spider

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Out of a total of 1, arachnids submitted from 49 states, different species were identified. From those 29 states where brown recluses are not common, only 2 brown recluse specimens were identified. This study found that if you get bitten outside of where brown recluse spiders are known to live, the chances that it came from a brown recluse are nearly zero.

It's brown recluse season, but the spider might not be as bad as its reputation

It is more likely that the injury was caused by any number of other things, possibly even another species of spider that is less venomous. For instance, if you were bitten in northern California or Maine, there's almost no chance it's from a brown recluse unless you recently returned from Mississippi. The bottom line is that we can rule out the brown recluse if you aren't in the areas where brown recluses are known to live.

Assuming you're in the territory of the brown recluse, it is best if you were able to see the spider that bit you. However, many people do not even realize when they are bitten, so sightings are rare.

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If you were, by chance, able to capture the spider that bit you, that is even better. It's probably beyond the expertise of your doctor as well, though you should see him anyway if the bite worsens.

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While you and your doctor may not be able to identify the brown recluse, there are a few indicators that you have a spider that is at least in the recluse family. If you can safely observe it, here's what to look for:. Brown recluses are also called violin spiders or fiddlebacks. These names refer to a violin-shaped mark on the spider's back.

Brown Recluse (Violin Spider) | MDC Discover Nature

However, it's not always obvious on brown recluses and it shows up on other species as well. Look for the other identifying information instead of relying on the violin. The problem is that it's more than likely you didn't even feel the bite.


In most cases of loxoscelism, the bite is identified by symptoms several hours or days after the fact. Most brown recluse bites either don't have any symptoms at all or there is a little swelling with a red bump.

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Some bites will develop a boil or a pimple. These may be completely indistinguishable from an ingrown hair or a skin infection like staphylococcus or streptococcus.

Some of the worst brown recluse bites can lead to necrotic arachnidism , which looks like an open wound that doctors often call ulcers. It's important to remember that skin infections can lead to necrotic ulcers which look similar to those caused by brown recluse bites. The difference is that necrotic skin infections can be much more dangerous and treatment with antibiotics is possible, so it's very important you see a doctor.

On the other hand, antibiotics do not work for brown recluse bites and there are very few confirmed deaths from loxoscelism. A study published in looked at loxoscelism cases ranging from through Of the 57 reported cases of moderate to severe loxoscelism, only two resulted in death.

The Brown Recluse Spider: Its Reputation Is Worse Than Its Bite

Both individuals—an older man and a young girl—were healthy prior to the bite. It should also be noted that the study found possible cases of loxoscelism over that 20 year period. Potter also notes that brown recluse spiders have only six eyes instead of eight, which can be distinguished only with a magnifying glass. The brown recluse bite is usually painless.

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However, most bites heal on their own within three weeks. Potter and Physicians Urgent Care recommend going to the doctor.

N.S. man recovering from suspected brown recluse spider bite

The venom can begin to kill skin cells and tissue, resulting in a blue tinged patch with a central blister. This is more common in children and elderly adults. Ever since the incident earlier this week, she's been sleeping with cotton balls in her ears. And Torres has some reason to be shaken up — the spider in her ear wasn't just any variety.

The brown recluse is one of the world's most poisonous spiders, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. The arachnid's bite usually isn't fatal, but it can cause severe tissue damage, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The spider's venom contains a toxin that kills skin, sometimes leaving an open wound as large as a human hand.

The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse Spider The Brown Recluse Spider

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