The Brown Recluse

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The Brown Recluse is also known as The Fiddle-Back Spider or The Loxosceles Reclusa 

  • Top View of a Brown Recluse
  • Close Up of a Brown Recluse
  • Macro Shot of a Brown Recluse

Description – what it looks like; size, coloring, etc.

Brown Recluse Spiders have small bodies and long, equal length legs, and an abdomen in the shape of an oval. An adult’s body only measures approximately 1/4” to 1/2” inch long. Their bodies are generally brown in color and they have a distinguishing dark violin-shaped mark on its back with the neck of the violin pointing toward the rear of the spider which is their most telling characteristics. Their legs and thorax are typically light brown to yellowish and they also only have 6 eyes, most other spiders have 8!


Brown Recluse legs do not have any marking, so if you see a spider that looks like this, it’s not a Brown Recluse, it’s a harmless Wolf Spider.

Habitat, Behaviors, Preferences, etc.

This spider is a hunter, so it’s web is not intended to catch its prey but rather as a hiding place while resting or as a nesting spot for their eggs. The Brown Recluse, like most spiders, eat other insects as its source for food, dead insects are among their favorites. They usually make their webs at ground level, so if you see webs on the corner of your ceilings, chances are, it’s not a Brown Recluse. Females will only lay about 1 to 5 egg sacs during her lifetime; however, each sac can contain anywhere from 30 to 300 eggs!! That’s potentially 1,500 babies! Spiderlings (baby spiders) normally emerge within 24-36 days. After leaving the egg cases, they develop very slowly and are influenced by weather conditions and food availability. They typically take an entire year to mature from egg to adult and these spiders can survive up to two years without available food or water.

The Brown Recluse’s Bite

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ve been bit by a Brown Recluse!!”? Chances are, that’s not be the case. If this happens, here’s what you should look for; one of the main characteristics of a typical bite is a hard, sharp sensation on the skin, followed by intense pain and swelling. A Brown Recluse Spider’s venom has enzymes that destroy the cell membranes in the wounded area. The affected tissue sloughs away, exposing underlying tissues.


Interesting Fact!

Brown Recluse Spiders are said to bite people while they are sleeping, however this is very improbable as they are not aggressive spiders. This spider is not one to bite a human unless it feels threatened or trapped. If one happened to be in your bed and you rolled over on top of it, it is more likely that you will squish it before it has the opportunity to bite you. That being said, there are scenarios where the Brown Recluse will bite; maybe it gets trapped in the covers next to your feet… It’s in an old shirt you just put on that you found lying in the back of the closet… It got stuck in the bathtub when looking for food and you almost step on it… It’s hiding in an old log you grab when smoking some BBQ…  It’s not too common but it does happen.

*If bitten, collect the spider if possible for identification and get medical attention immediately.


Effective Control

Controlling spiders is difficult, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood these dangerous arachnids will appear in your Home or Yard.

  1. Eliminate as much clutter as possible in storage areas and frequently dust and vacuum around windows, corners of rooms, and under furniture.
  2. Dust and vacuum thoroughly to remove dead insects, spiders, webs, and egg sacs.
  3. Knock down and sweep up all spider webs you see.
  4. Seal any cracks or crevices around your home.
  5. Use glue boards in strategic areas to catch roaming hunters.
  6. Reduce the number insects around your home that these spiders feed on by hiring a professional to perform regular pest control services.

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About the Author

Rashan Brown

Rashan loves playing golf, listening to a great podcast, and spending time with his wife and little girl. He is a Field Service Manager at Reliant and is licensed technician in the state of Texas