Bug Blog

Who’s At Risk For Brown Recluse Bites? And How To Identify This Dangerous Spider

The brown recluse spider (BRS) is well known for its dangerous bite and menacing appearance, but how widespread is this type of spider? Many people assume that the BRS can be found in just about any region of the United States. BRS sightings are reported everywhere in the USA, but most reports come from the central to the southern regions of the US. If you live on the coast or anywhere that would not be considered the central or southern regions of the US, then it is highly unlikely that you will encounter a BRS.

The BRS is native to the following states: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. If you do not live in any of these states then you do not have to trouble yourself with the possibility of encountering the dreaded BRS. Instead you can worry about rattlesnakes, scorpions or bed bugs.

The BRS is notable for its unique appearance, which includes a violin shaped marking on its cephalothorax, like all spiders belonging to the genus Loxosceles. However, it is the eyes of the BRS that are truly unique, and in order to identify a spider as belonging to the family of the BRS, you must examine the spider’s eyes to confidently determine that a particular spider is a brown recluse. The vast majority of spiders have eight eyes arranged into rows of four. The BRS, on the other hand, possesses only six eyes arranged in pairs called “dyads,” which are displayed in a semi-circle around the front of the cephalothorax. If you happen to be bitten the National Institute of Health recommends going to the ER immediately after washing the bite-wound in soapy water.

Have you ever encountered what you thought was a brown recluse spider outside of the southern or central regions of the US?