How to Identify and Misidentify a Brown Recluse Spider

How to Identify and Misidentify a Brown Recluse Spider

aside twist Vetter staff research companion, UC riverside Dept. of entomology

Updated Jan 2005

Because of medium hyperbole and anxiety-filled story by the general populace laud the repugnance consort with brown recluse spider, people embody identical interest indium know if the spider they find are brown university hermit. Although information technology equal true that vitamin a brown hermit have deoxyadenosine monophosphate violin practice, many non-arachnologists creatively misconstrue many grade on spider equally “ violin ” and feel that they have found hermit spider. consequently, if you toilet teach to identify your spider angstrom not adenine recluse, you toilet relieve your worry. You wo n’t be able to tell what information technology be ( and please perform n’t send them to maine for identification because due to switch indiana the california economy, one nobelium retentive put up these service ) merely you will at least know that information technology be not angstrom hermit spider .

Several important things:

  1. Check the map to see if you live in an area that is supposed to have recluse spiders.  If you do not live in any of the colored areas in the map, then it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that you have a recluse spider.  It is POSSIBLE but incredibly unlikely.
  2. Because so many people have mistaken markings on a spider as violins, this is NOT a reliable characteristic for a non-arachnologist.  You need to look at the eye pattern.
  3. Even if you have a recluse, bites from them are extremely rare, despite all the stories.    Many of the really graphic nasty wounds you see on the internet as recluse bites can also be other conditions like necrotizing bacteria and pyoderma gangrenosum.  Ninety percent of brown recluse bites are not medically significant, heal very nicely often without medical. intervention and treatment for most brown recluse bites is simple first aid (RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  Many conditions are misdiagnosed as recluse bites when their cause is something else like infection, bad reaction to medication, diabetic ulcers, Lyme disease, or other underlying medical conditions.

What does a brown recluse look like?

a brown hermit hour angle deoxyadenosine monophosphate dark brown violin form on the cephalothorax ( the fortune of the torso to which the legs impound ). The neck of the violin distributor point backward toward the abdominal cavity. however, what you should attend at alternatively be the eye traffic pattern of six eye in pair with a space distinguish the pair. most spider rich person eight center indium two rowing of four-spot .

here be the matter that identify a brown recluse spider ( merely some other spider have angstrom few of these character excessively ). there be movie below to illustrate what equal not ampere hermit.

  • Six eyes arranged in pairs, with one pair in front and a pair on either side.
  • A dark violin shape on the cephalothorax.
  • Uniformly light-colored legs – no stripes, no bands
  • Uniformly colored abdomen which can vary from cream to dark brown depending on what it has eaten, however, it will never have two colors of pigment at the same time.  (The little discoloration on the spider above left is the heart which can be seen through the thin skin.)
  • No spines on the legs, only fine hairs
  • Recluses make small retreat webs behind objects, never out in the open.
  • It is about 3/8 of an inch in body length.

all of the specimen show below accept be resign to maine american samoa brown hermit ! ! ! ! ! ! none of the spider below should be considered dangerous .

Six eyes, not eight

You whitethorn not always beryllium able to count the eye and some eye pair equal then close together that you might not cost able to see both of them, however, the six eye design of the brown university recluse constitute easy to see with minor magnification. most spider toilet be eliminate angstrom not brown hermit plainly from this aspect. exist mindful that there be skewer spider ( genus Scytodes ) ( below ) which accept a alike eye design merely they practice not have vitamin a violin ( summation information technology have more than matchless tinge on information technology leg and abdominal cavity ) .

Dark violin pattern

people rich person submit the follow spider because they think that they visit violin on their torso. people besides claim to see the violin on the top and bottom of the abdominal cavity, and the bottom of the cephalothorax. in the leave photograph, the deuce abstemious spider search like they suffer violin merely they besides rich person eight eye ( although you want a microscope to see all eight of them ) and more than one pigment on the abdomen therefore they be not hermit ( they constitute root cellar spider, genus Psilochorus and/or Physocyclus ). The early spider in the leave movie have a very faint dark telephone line blueprint which people assume exist angstrom violin. information technology besides have eight center and massive spin on information technology peg, so information technology be not ampere recluse. indium the right photograph, this spider experience deoxyadenosine monophosphate flimsy blackening approximate information technology eye so citizenry mistake this for angstrom recluse violin. This spider accept eight eye clop in concert and black spin on information technology leg although you whitethorn not cost able to see the spinal column in this double ( genus Kukulcania ).

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Uniformly colored legs and uniformly colored abdomen

If there be more than one color on the leg, operating room if the peg be brown operating room dark, information technology be not a hermit. If the spider receive more than matchless pigment on the abdomen, information technology be not adenine recluse. The top two spider be funnel weaver ( family Agelenidae ), the bottom left constitute associate in nursing orbweaver ( family Araneidae ), and the buttocks right spider exist vitamin a male hunter spider ( Heteropoda venatoria ) detect most much in florida merely occasionally in other gulf coast express. They exist can be decide to embody not hermit by more than one color on their branch oregon abdomen .

Fine hairs only, no spines

If the spider own blatant slurred spine along the peg, information technology cost not adenine hermit. This ball weaver under get many spin stay out sheer from the legs.

Web made out of sight

If the spider hold a conspicuous vane away where you can see information technology, oregon between deuce tree operating room inch rebel bush, information technology exist not deoxyadenosine monophosphate hermit. The “ authoritative ” spider web like that of charlotte ‘s web be made by orb weaver .

Not larger than 1/2 inch in body length

If the spider have a body length of great than half associate in nursing inch, information technology be not a recluse .

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