Loxosceles reclusa
(Brown Recluse)

Taxonomic Hierarchy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Suborder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Sicariidae
  • Genus: Loxosceles
  • Species: Loxosceles reclusa

Common Name (AASMore information icon)

Brown Recluse

Other Common Names

Brown Spider, Violin Spider, Six-eyed Brown Spider, Fiddle-back Spider

Author

Willis J. Gertsch & Stanley Mulaik, 1940

Pronunciation

lawx-AW-sel-eez reh-KLOO-suh

Identification Traits

Disclaimer: The following table provides a quick overview of the spider's basic attributes. The physical traits are greatly generalized in order to aid in the identification and sorting of spider species using our search feature. This information is not exhaustive, and keep in mind that traits such as color, markings, and overall size and shape can vary widely within a species due to variables such as the spider's age, gender, diet, hydration level, climate, and habitat. Though experienced arachnologists and hobbyists can often classify spiders rather accurately based on their unique markings and general appearance, it's important to know that scientifically accurate spider identification relies on detailed taxonomic keys and microscopic examinations of a spider's reproductive organs.

Female iconFemale Male iconMale
Body size More information icon 7mm - 12mm 7mm - 12mm
Eye count 6
Primary Colors
Identifying Traits Smooth or shiny appearance, Fuzzy or hairy appearance, Patternless, Legs solid color, Especially long legs
Web style Retreat or silken sac


Additional Remarks

  • People mistake all sorts of (typically innocuous) spider species for the “brown recluse.” Especially male Kukulcania hibernalisspecies of Cheiracanthium and, in California in particular: Metaltella simoni and spiders in the genus Titiotus.
  • This spider’s venom contains sphingomyelinase D, a necrosis-causing enzyme.
  • This is a medically significant species: venom is potentially dangerous to humans. Reactions can vary from “unremarkable” (little, if any, damage and are self-healing) and “mild” (redness and itching, but usually self-healing) to “dermonecrotic” (a necrotic skin lesion that requires medical intervention) or, very rarely “systemic” (affecting the vascular system and potentially fatal). The potential for bites is slim, and can be largely avoided by taking simple precautions, and the majority of verified cases fall into the first two categories (unremarkable or mild). Most importantly, many other medical conditions can produce the skin lesions so often wrongly attributed to Loxosceles or other types of spiders. Please consult Rick Vetter’s 2008 article for a list of these. Misdiagnosis can lead to worse problems than a mere spider bite (if the actual cause is MRSA, for example).
  • Less than 10% of bites are considered serious or medically significant.
  • This species is not social (they do not share their webs or help each other catch food, etc), but they are incredibly tolerant of one another and can be found in very high numbers within a single location. The rule of thumb is often: “where there is one, there are many.”
  • A single female produces about 3 egg sacs in her lifetime, each filled with roughly 50 individual eggs (Vetter 2008). Some of the eggs may be infertile and some may be eaten by spiderlings from previous egg sacs, so only about half of them will actually end up “hatching” (Edwards 2001).

Featured Pictures

Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Male Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Male,Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Female - Eyes Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Female - Eyes,Gravid Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Loxosceles reclusa (Brown Recluse) - Female - Eyes,Webs Enlarge picture icon
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