Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown in color and have several distinctive features, including six eyes (most spiders have eight) and a violin-like mark. Compared to other spider species, the brown recluse spider has darker legs than its body and a distinctive "violin" pattern on its upper body. The legs of other spiders are usually darker than their bodies, and the resident's brown legs will be lighter.
The legs and head of a brown recluse may be slightly different versions of the same color, but they are mostly uniform in color. Solitary spiders outside these areas are chocolate brown, and their bodies are about 9mm long with long legs.
To accurately identify a spider as a recluse, it is necessary to see both eyes and a dark one, as other spiders may only have one or the other characteristic. The violin motif is not a definitive identifier, as other spiders may have similar markings (for example, this violin-shaped mark points to the abdomen of this spider and starts on the head.
However, this violin-shaped marking is not a reliable way to identify all brown recluse spiders, as spiders sometimes go unmarked due to molting or age. Two features that help distinguish brown recluse spiders from similar species include dark violin-shaped markings on the back of the front of the body and a pair of semicircles of six eyes. According to The Ohio State University, the intensity of the brown recluse violin markings varies depending on the age of the spider, with adult spiders usually having a dark violin shape. Other spiders may have the same eye structure, but not solo fiddles and uniform in color.
In the photo on the right, this spider has a slight blackout near the eyes, so people mistake it for a hermit violin. If the spider has a prominent web where you can see it, or is between two trees or rose bushes, it is NOT a recluse. If the spider is over half an inch long, it is NOT a recluse.
- If you notice long or matted hair, then the spider is not a recluse. If you look closely, you will see that the hair grows everywhere, except for the head of the spider.
- Assuming you're in brown hermit country and you have a low-bodied spider with angular, smooth, solid-colored legs, the next thing to do is look at the spider's eyes.
This spider has 8 eyes clustered together and black spikes on its legs, although you probably won't see the spikes (Kukulcania genus) in this picture. The other spider in the picture on the left has a very faint black line that people mistaken for a violin. In the photo on the left, the two light-colored spiders look like violins, but also have 8 eyes (even if you need a microscope to see all 8) and have more than one pigment on their abdomens, so they are not recluses (they are cellar spiders ). , of the genera Psilochorus and/or Physocyclus). Brown recluse spiders usually have markings on the dorsal side of the cephalothorax and a black line extending from it that looks like a violin with the violin neck facing the rear spider, earning the fiddler's nickname of the spider , Brown Fiddler or Violin Spider.
Somehow, brown recluses have had a bad reputation over the years, even though these spiders are generally not aggressive and rarely bite. The brown recluse is one of only three spiders in North America with clinically significant venom (the others are the black widow and the Chilean recluse Loxosceles laeta). In its natural range, brown recluses are common and abundant in households, but there are few reports of confirmed bites (one study reported a household collected more than 2,000 spiders over a six-month period, but residents in not been bitten in six months). year).
Brown recluse spider bite
Nothing can definitively identify a brown recluse bite, and no blood tests or cultures can show the presence of brown recluse venom in a suspected spider bite.
For example, the venom of the wandering spider, a common European species native to the northwestern United States and southern British Columbia, has been reported to cause symptoms similar to brown recluse bites when injected into laboratory rabbits. Theatrical photos and questionable stories on the internet have drawn public attention to brown prisoners, leading the public to believe spiders are all over the United States. To make matters worse, this spider is relatively common in the central and southern United States.
Are spiders harmful?
While spiders such as the harmless web or cellar spiders are sometimes considered a nuisance, they prey on other pests (including brown recluses) and may be considered beneficial in this regard. Mediterranean prisoners are not known to have bitten staff or students, despite their long stay in the Pennsylvania steam tunnels.
Non-arachnologists (including physicians, pest control specialists, and even some entomologists) have imagined a "violin" on various body surfaces of harmless spiders and mistakenly assume that non-arachnologists (including physicians) have correctly identified the brown recluse spider. This method, although useful for identification, it is not reliable because many other spider species found in homes in Indiana and Ohio have markings on their backs. Checking the eye pattern is the best way to rule out almost any suspicious non-hermit spider, or the lack of violin markings can lead to erroneous identification.