What does a brown recluse look like?

The brown recluse spider is only found in certain parts of the country. It’s important to know what they look like if they’re located in your area. They rarely bite, but when they do, their venom can cause serious wounds.

On average, these spiders are about a quarter of their size, including their legs. They are tan to dark brown and have some distinctive features. These include six eyes (most spiders have eight) and a violin or violin-shaped mark.

Unfortunately, these descriptions don’t always hold true, and you’ll need an expert to accurately identify brown recluse spiders. Expert inspection can rule out other species that look like brown recluses but are not potentially dangerous.

This article discusses why brown recluse spiders are dangerous and how to identify them.

Why brown recluse spiders are dangerous

While bites by brown recluses are rare, they can be dangerous. These spiders are not aggressive. However, they can bite if you accidentally turn over one or if it’s hidden in a piece of clothing.

Also, a bite can be mistaken for something minor, such as a red bump or a small cut. Nothing can clearly identify a brown recluse’s bite. There are no blood tests or cultures that can detect brown recluse venom in suspected spider bites.

The brown recluse’s venom can cause mild or severe reactions. Severe reactions are more common in people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and children.

If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse, apply ice to the affected area, elevate and seek immediate medical attention.


Venom from brown recluses can cause severe symptoms, especially in the elderly, children, or people with compromised immune systems. If you think you may have been bitten by a brown recluse, get medical help right away.

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Symptoms

Brown recluse bites are usually painless, and symptoms may not appear for several hours. At that point, the area may become red, swollen, and tender. Most bites remain localized and heal within a few weeks without serious complications or medical treatment.

In more severe cases, wounds or lesions may form. It may have a dry, sunken blue patch with irregular edges, a pale center and a red outside. As the venom continues to destroy tissue, the bite may expand to several inches over a period of days or weeks. It eventually becomes a necrotizing ulcer, where the tissue dies and leaves a deep scar.

In rare cases, the bite can produce a systemic reaction (whole body) with fever, chills, dizziness, rash, or vomiting.


Most brown recluse bites heal within a few weeks. Some can be severe, destroying skin tissue and causing serious wounds. In rare cases, it can cause fever, rash, dizziness, and vomiting.

How a skin infection is sometimes misdiagnosed as a spider bite

How to Rule Out a Brown Hermit

Brown recluse spiders like dark, dirty places where they can hide under things. Within their habitat, there can be serious pest infestations. So if there is one spider, there are probably dozens or even hundreds of them. However, even in homes with widespread infestation, being bitten is unusual.

Still, if you’ve been bitten by a spider you think may be a brown recluse, your best bet is to follow the steps below to try and rule out the possibility.

Find out if they live in your area

Brown recluse spiders live in a defined area of ​​the south central United States. They are called “hermits” because they are difficult to find even in the area where they live.

The scientific name of the brown recluse is Hidden beetle. They live in the red area of ​​the map below.

Other colored areas on the map are where other areas are located Side lumbar nematode Species (eg Texas Hermit, Desert Hermit, etc.). These are all related to brown recluses and all have a similar venom.Indeed, some other Locks The venom of the species is more dangerous than the brown recluse.

If the spider is found outside the known habitat of the brown recluse, it is almost certainly not this spider. If it’s outside other areas, it’s not even a related species.

look at its legs

When identifying a spider, you may be able to tell whether it is a brown recluse from its anatomy.

Loxosceles actually means “inclined legs”. If you look at a brown hermit from the side, you can see how the body is sitting very low and how the legs are slanted to a point. It’s this angular, sloping leg shape that gives the brown recluse its scientific name.

Two other distinguishing features of brown recluse legs include:

  • Thornless: Unlike many other spider species, Side lumbar nematode It has no spikes or spines on its legs. They are smooth.
  • Solid Colors: Some spiders have multicolored legs, but Side lumbar nematode The legs are solid, no stripes, no patterns.

If a spider doesn’t have these legs, it’s definitely not a brown recluse. If so, you’ll want to look at some other characteristics.

Examination of three sets of two eyes

The next way to identify a brown recluse is to look into the spider’s eyes.

Brown recluse spiders have six eyes. The eyes come in pairs, called diads (two groups), that line the front and sides of the spider’s head. Other spider species may have eight eyes, or six eyes arranged in two triads (groups of three).

You can’t be sure it’s a brown recluse based solely on the eyes.However, if the eye pattern is not correct, it must be no A brown hermit.


Brown recluse spiders have sloping legs and their bodies are low. They have six eyes, divided into three groups of two.

check its body

to be a Side lumbar nematode:

  • The length of the body (without the legs) must not exceed 3/8 inch. Including the legs, the average size of a brown recluse is about a quarter.
  • The belly (the large round part on the back) needs to be a little fuzzy, with very fine hair and a solid color.

Find the violin marker

One of the most common features when describing the brown recluse is the violin-shaped markings on its back.

Not all brown recluses have the classic violin markings. Even if it’s there, you might not be able to see it clearly. Also, some spiders have violin marks on their backs, they are not brown recluses.

The classic violin markings aren’t noticeable on all kinds of loxosceles like this desert hermit, but Venom is just as bad.


A brown recluse is about a quarter the size when you include its body and legs. It usually has a violin-shaped mark on its back, but may also be found on other spiders.

How to avoid infection

Brown recluse spiders are difficult to get rid of, mainly because they tend to hide in dark areas. Cracks, nooks, and wall-floor junctions, especially behind clutter and storage areas, are ideal hiding places.

To avoid an infestation by brown recluse spiders, seal off areas in your home where they may enter. Strategies include:

  • Use weather stripping around windows and sashes
  • Fill cracks in floors with plastic wood filler or wood adhesive
  • remove clutter


While brown recluse bites are rare, they can be dangerous. Brown recluse spiders are found in the south central United States. They can be identified by their sloping legs, six eyes and violin-shaped markings on their backs.

While most bites do not experience complications, some people may experience severe reactions, including severe cuts, fever, dizziness, rash, or vomiting. If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse, seek medical attention immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you get rid of brown recluse spiders?

    Glue traps can catch spiders, but it’s better to have a professional exterminator use a suitable insecticide, which is more effective.

    understand more:

    Can essential oils repel insects?

  • How do you treat a brown recluse bite?

    Antihistamines, colchicine, dapsone, and corticosteroids are medications used to relieve symptoms. Antivenom consists of antibodies that neutralize the venom and can prevent large skin ulcers if given within a few hours of being bitten.

    understand more:

    First Aid for Bug and Spider Bites

  • What should you do if you find a brown hermit in your home?

    called extermination. If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, apply ice, elevate the affected area and seek immediate medical attention. Try catching the spider so experts can determine if it’s actually a brown recluse or some other type of spider.

    understand more:

    Treating bites and wounds with the RICE method