Loxosceles reclusa

Description

This spider is NOT a native species to Virginia nor is it commonly found here. However, since bites attributed to it are reported each year, it is important to know how to identify this spider.

The adult Brown Recluse is approximately 1/2 inch long, light brown or tan in color. The identifying mark, a darker brown violin shape, may be found on the cephalothorax of the spider, hence its nickname, the "violin spider".

There are six eyes arranged in three pairs instead of eight eyes as most spiders have.

Habitat

The Brown Recluse is found in the central to southern mid-western part of the United States, from Kansas to California.

True to its name, it lives inside dwellings, tucked away in dark corners or under objects.

Although the extreme western part of Virginia may be within it range, it is not believed to be found here.

Food

The Brown Recluse catches any small insects that live in and around the home. It is nocturnal (active at night) and catches its prey within a small, irregular, sticky web.



Defense

The light brown or tan color of this spider helps it to blend into dark corners and crevices. During the day, it hides under or behind furniture, in seldom worn clothing or shoes in closets, or in other nooks and crannies of the home.

The Brown Recluse spider will bite. Rarely any pain when bitten. Bite site becomes reddened. Painful ulceration develops. Skin and muscle tissue dies, leaving a deep, infected wound that enlarges, fails to heal or heals quite slowly.