One of the most common phobias in the world today is arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders.
Not many people enjoy coming face to face with a spider, especially since most not only have eight legs but also eight eyes!!
The brown recluse spider is a little different – they have only six eyes that are arranged in three pairs positioned in a semicircle at the front of their shell. These spiders are also known as “fiddleback” or “violin” spiders because of their violin-shaped markings on the top of their shell, or exoskeleton.
The adult recluse spider will vary from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in body length, with the females being slightly larger than the males. The legs of both sexes are long, with the males generally 1/3 longer than the females.
Where Brown Recluse Spiders Appear
In the United States, the brown recluse spider is considered to be the most widespread and most important species of recluse spiders. The natural range of the brown recluse is from southern Texas north to Nebraska, and east to eastern Tennessee and Alabama. They appear to be most highly concentrated in the south-central portion of the Midwest.
The brown recluse spider naturally occurs in outdoor situations, living in piles of debris, utility boxes, wood piles, and vehicles, as well as under bark, logs and stones. They have also adapted quite well to indoor habitats where they are commonly found harboring in storage areas, such as closets, attics, crawlspaces, cellars and other dark recesses. They frequently live in clothing, boxes, toys, papers, furniture and other household items, and seem to prefer areas that are “layered,” such as stacks of items or clutter.
Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Their poisonous bite causes tissue death and the venom’s effects often are generally localized at the site of the bite. The bite may be painless but some have reported a slight stinging sensation. Usually a localized burning sensation develops and lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. During the next eight hours, the reddened area enlarges and a pus-filled blister forms in its center. Within 12-24 hours after the bite, systemic reaction may occur, characterized by fever, malaise, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. The venom usually kills the affected tissue and causes skin loss and necrosis or death of the underlying tissue.
Contact a medical professional if you are experiencing these signs and suspect you have been bitten.