Identifying the Brown Recluse Spider

Oftentimes, bites from brown recluse spiders (BRS) are often wrongly diagnosed. In the same way, other spider bites are also misdiagnosed as BRS bites. Here are some information that can help you identify a brown recluse spider and its bite so you can immediately give the proper spider bite treatment.

What does a brown recluse spider look like?

Brown Recluse SpiderThe adult BRS is easily identified because of a dark, brown, violin-shape on its back. The shape looks like an inverted violin with its neck pointing towards the spider’s rounded abdomen. However, even this identifying mark is not a common marking because young BRS do not have it.

Generally, the BRS is similarly colored light tan to dark brown. The body of an adult BRS measures about 3/8 inches in length and 3/16 in width. The BRS legs are long and slim. Altogether, the size of an adult BRS is about 1 to 2 ½ inches. The young BRS is very much like the adult except the size and the color is lighter. Spiders mostly have eight eyes, but the BRS has six eyes arranged in a semi-circle located on the forefront of the body.

The male and female brown recluse spiders (BRS) are very poisonous. They are commonly found in the central Midwestern states south of the Mexican Gulf.

Brown recluse spider lifecycle

The adult brown recluse spider has a life span of one to two years. It can survive without water and food for 6 months. It lays eggs during the months of May, June and July.

One adult female spider can lay 50 eggs in an off-white silken sack; the diameter of a BRS egg is about 2/3 inch. More than one egg sack can be deposited by a female BRS in that three-month laying period. The spiderlings can reach adult stage within a year depending on the weather condition and food supply.

Brown recluse spider habitat

A loose, irregular web is spider’s daytime home. It is made of sticky off-white to gray thread. The scientific name of the BRS is Loxosceles reclusa and the term “reclusa” refers to its habitat. It is a solitary insect that prefers to be alone in dark corners and crevices. The web serves as the spider’s retreat during the day so you will find it in undisturbed corners. At night, BRS comes out to hunt for food; it is a scavenger and will often eat dead insects.

Recluse spiders are very flexible, too. They can live indoors or outdoors although they always prefer the dark corners or areas. Indoor, they start to make webs in attics, basements, cellars and closets including storage boxes, shoes, clothes and folded linens, even under and behind furniture. Outdoor, the perfect place for the BRS are the garages, barns, storage sheds. Wood and stone piles are also perfect places for the brown recluse spiders.

Spiders such as recluse spiders are not aggressive. Typically, they only bite when crushed or disturbed. Some spider bite victims have been bitten in bed when they accidentally rolled over the spider. Others may have disturbed the spider’s home when they were cleaning storage sheds or dark areas under the sink or furniture. Seldom can we hear of people bitten for using clothes or shoes with brown recluse spider (BRS) inhabiting in them.