The scientific name for the Brown Recluse spider is Loxosceles Reclusa. It was formerly a member of the Loxosceidae family, but has been moved to the Sicariidae family, which consists of venomous spiders. The brown recluse is of the Loxosceles genus, and is also commonly referred to as the Violin Spider or Fiddle-back. They derived this nickname due to the appearance of a dark colored shape that resembles a fiddle or a violin located along their head and extending down their backs. In fact, it is the shape of the fiddle that often identifies and separates it from other spiders.
Making their way from the eastern parts of Texas to the western ends of Georgia, it can also be seen as far north as Illinois. Additionally, it is not native only to the United States. They are also abundant in North and South America, the Mediterranean, the southern parts of Russia, and in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. With such a far extending range, many people must be aware of this dangerous spider, both to recognize its appearance, as well as the characteristics of its potentially fatal bite.
In appearance, the brown recluse spider is approximately the size of a quarter, measuring between 3/4 and 1/2 inch long. Male spiders are roughly half the length or size of their female counterparts. It's color can range from shades of gray to an orangey brown and reddish black, with short black hairs covering its body. However, it always bears the distinctive marking on its back, though due to the coloring of the spider, this may or may not be plainly visible. To make a clear visual identification, it is best to look at the eyes of the spider, rather than the violin shaped marking on its head and back.
The eyes are its most identifying feature. Where many spiders have eight eyes, the Brown Recluse has six, arranged in three pairs. These are placed in a semi circle arrangement on the head. You can easily identify it by determining that it has three sets of eyes along with the violin shaped marking on its head and back.
When it comes to locating the brown recluse, you'll find that it tends to hide in areas that are both warm and dry, they do not like high moisture areas. They prefer temperatures that range between 45 and 110 degrees fahrenheit. With such a wide range of temperatures, it is easy to understand how they frequent many homes, basements, and attics. Their name, Recluse, is a good description of their temperament. They tend to hide in areas such as in bedding, clothing, in the under parts of areas, boxes, or in closets. Typically, they prefer areas where things are often stored. Any area that has low moisture and is moderately warm is suitable housing.
Feeding primarily on insects, they will sometimes eat other spiders. Their venomous bite can cause instant paralysis to their victims. Sometimes, their victims will live for several days, when they will finally devour it. Differing from other spiders, they don't use a web to catch prey. Additionally, their web differs in appearance from other spider's webs. Where some spiders spin a perfectly symmetrical web, the web spun by the brown recluse is misshapen and lacks symmetry.
The brown recluse spider's life cycle is contingent upon a number of factors. However, when conditions are ideal, they can live up to ten years, however the average lives approximately two years. Preferring the dark to daytime, most will spend the day looking for dark areas to hide in. Females often stay close to their homes or webs, while males tend to venture out more.
Reproduction consists of females giving birth up to five times throughout their lifespan. An egg sac will contain between forty and fifty eggs, and produces egg sacs between the months of February and September. Once the babies are born, they will molt up to eight times throughout their life cycle. You can make a visual identification as to whether or not you have an infestation by detecting their shed skin around your home.
There is no doubt that the most feared aspect of the brown recluse is its bite. Many people have seen photos or other imagery depicting the rapid decay that occurs after a small, or miniscule bite. It is a venomous spider and there is no treatment such as anti venom. Fortunately, the spider is not aggressive. Therefore, it will not seek out a human victim to attack. However, it will attack or bite when it feels threatened.
Since it prefers storage areas that are warm and dry, they often hide in clothing, bedding, or items in basements, attics and closets. People inadvertently get bit when they come in contact with the spider that is hiding. It is common for the recluse to bite when it feels the pressure of a body pressing down against it, such as when someone rolls over or steps on the spider. Thankfully, the spider does not have large fangs, and does not have the strength to bite through a person's clothing. They will bite when they come in contact with bare skin.
When a person is bit by a brown recluse spider, they are often unaware of the bite for several hours. The time from being bit to developing symptoms in the surrounding area varies in each individual. What also varies from individual to individual is the severity of the bite. In some people, the bit isn't severe and will heal without complications in several weeks. However, it is the other cases, where the bite becomes a necrotic ulcer that medical intervention becomes an absolute necessity. The early symptoms of the Recluse spider bite include vomiting, fever, joint and muscle pain, developing a fever. If you believe that a brown recluse has bitten you or someone close to you, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you have access to the spider, make certain to place it in a container and bring it with you when you seek medical treatment. There are alternative ways that some people have been treating a brown recluse spider bite.