Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider is unjustifiably feared throughout the U.S., even though it occurs only in the central mid-west and southern states. It does not occur naturally in the Northeast although it can be transported into the region by accident. The brown recluse spider is about the size of a quarter with its legs spread out. It is light brown in color with a distinctive violin-shaped marking on its back. These spiders are shy and only bite in defense when accidentally squeezed. The bite can result in death of the surrounding tissue, leaving an ulcerated skin crater that can be very slow to heal. Even in areas where the brown recluse spider occurs, bites are uncommon and are often misdiagnosed by physicians. The spider’s natural habitat is outside under logs, rocks, bark, etc., where it has an inconspicuous web. In homes, brown recluse spiders are “reclusive,” hiding in little used, cluttered spaces like closets, attics, or storage rooms.