Loxosceles reclusa: The Brown Recluse


Brown recluse spiders are commonly referred to as “fiddle-back” or “violin” spiders due to the markings on their cephalothorax that resemble the instrument.  The use of this marking is questionable when identifying L. reclusa as the pattern may vary from spider to spider and many other species have similar designs frequently mistaken for the violin. 


With exception to the “violin,” L. reclusa has no other remarkable patterns on its body or legs.  The body is about 9mm, while the leg span is approximately 25mm.  The spider’s color varies from tan to dark brown. 


L. reclusa have only six eyes, unlike most spiders, which have eight.  While this sets them apart from most other species, some common spiders share the same trait such as the woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata) and the spitting spider (Scytodes thoracica).  The spitting spider usually has spotted or stripped patterns across its body and legs, unlike the brown recluse, and the woodlouse spider lacks any marks on its red cephalothorax. 


Unlike other Loxosceles species, the brown recluse does well in human dwellings, thus increasing the possibility of interaction with humans.  However, as its name implies, L. reclusa is reclusive in its behaviors, and is rarely seen or noticed even in houses with considerable infestations.  They are non-aggressive, nocturnal, and tend to reside in deep cracks or storage areas of houses.




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