BROWN RECLUSE


Brown Recluse Violin Pattern
Photo emphasizing the violin pattern.
Created from original photo below
© Jim Kalisch
Department of Entomology, UNL

Scientific name

Loxosceles reclusa

Size

The average size of mature Brown Recluse spiders is approximately 1/3 of an inch, with a leg span of 1 to 1.5 inches. Male and female are similar in size.

Description

Brown Recluse spiders are generally yellowish-brown to brown in color, with a darker colored violin shape on the top of the cephalothorax (not the abdomen). The violin is easy to see in the photos on this page. The abdomen is a uniform color, with no markings on it.

Brown Recluse spiders, and the other related recluse spiders, have six eyes arranged in three pairs of two. This is a rather unique feature, as most spiders have eight eyes. A magnified view of the eyes can be seen in a photo below.

Distribution

In the United States, the Brown Recluse is found in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Outside of the United States, the Brown Recluse is found in Mexico.
Map of US states the Brown Recluse is found in.
Map does not show area of true distribution, only the states in which there is a population.
Actual distribution in any highlighted state may be limited.

Notes

The Brown Recluse is known to have a necrotic bite. This means that the bite causes severe damage to the skin and surrounding tissue, resulting in a large open sore, called a necrotic lesion, that takes a long time to heal. In some cases, systemic effects (i.e. headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, joint stiffness, and/or fever) have been reported as well. In some cases, when left untreated, the bite of the Brown Recluse has also reportedly caused kidney failure.

Often the Recluse spiders are called Violin Spiders or Fiddleback Spiders, because of the characteristic violin marking. They are also called Brown Spiders in some areas.

Brown Recluse Spider
Photo used by permission:
©2009 David Nixon

Brown Recluse
Photo used by permission:
© Jim Kalisch
Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Magnified eyes of a recluse spider. Note there are only six eyes, arranged in three pairs. Most spiders have eight eyes.
Brown Recluse Eye Pattern
Photo used by permission:
© Jim Kalisch
Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

For more information on dangerously venomous spiders, please see the Venomous Links page.


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