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There are Chilean Recluse spiders here! You may be more familiar with the "Brown Recluse" which is more common than these and in the United States. The name "Brown recluse" describes the color and the habits of this increasingly infamous spider. Brown Recluse spiders, with the scientific name of Loxosceles reclusa are one of the few spiders that are known to be very harmful to humans. It is regarded by some as more dangerous than the Black Widow spider because it is considered a house spider and isn't as simple to identify.   

If you are bitten, the symptoms of a bite are noticeable within hours. The following information has graphic pictures that can be disturbing, but if you REALLY want to know click here to learn more.

Appearance and Identification

The Chilean recluse is one of the larger species of recluse spiders, generally ranging from 8-30 mm in size (including legs). Like most recluses, it is brown and usually has markings on the dorsal side of its thorax, with a black line coming from it that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider resulting in the nickname "fiddleback spider" or "violin spider" in English-speaking areas. Coloring varies from light tan to brown and the violin marking may not be visible. Since the "violin pattern" is not diagnostic, it is far more important, for purposes of identification, to examine the eyes. Contrary to most spiders, which have 8 eyes, recluse spiders have 6 eyes arranged in pairs (dyads) with one median pair and 2 lateral pairs.

Adult Brown Recluse spiders are yellowish-tan to dark brown. They have long, thin gray to dark brown legs covered with very short, dark hairs. Both male and female spiders are similar in appearance and are equally venomous.  Young Brown Recluse spiders are smaller and somewhat lighter in color. The most distinguishing mark on a brown recluse spider is the presence of a dark brown or fiddle on its back with the violin's "neck" pointing toward the rear of its body. For this reason, they are sometimes called "violin spiders" or "fiddleback spiders". See the below pictures:

The presence of a violin-like marking on the back of a spider is not conclusive evidence of a brown recluse spider. There are other species of spiders which have markings that resemble violins. The brown recluse spider does not have any markings on its abdomen. If you see a spider that has markings on its tail end, it cannot be a brown recluse spider. The color of the abdomen is tan to brown, but may appear darker if the spider has recently fed. 

The spider has 6 eyes in 3 pairs arranged in a semi-circle in front of the violin. This is uncommon since most most spiders have 8 eyes. The average size of a mature Brown Recluse spider is about the size of a quarter.


Brown Recluse Spider

To the right is a detailed photo of a Brown Recluse spider. A Brown Recluse spider will not have any stripes or patterns on the abdomen and has fairly delicate which it can easily lose if handled roughly. 



Variant color

Another Brown Recluse spider. Note the variant color in the abdomen of the Spider. This one has a lighter tan color whereas the previous spider was more of a dark brown. If the abdomen is dark brown and shriveling up a bit, the spider is near death.


Variant Sizes

This photo shows the different sizes of a Brown Recluse spider. Juvenile Brown Recluses will be light tan in color. The record size is 2.8745 inches.

"The Violin"

A close-up view of the spider's "violin" or "Fiddle" shape. Above the violin is the Spider's 6 eyes. Most spiders have 8 eyes. Above the eyes are the fangs of the spider.

Medium sized picture  
(1024 X 768)


Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse?

A Brown Recluse Spider is placed in the same jar as a the infamous Black Widow. At first, they do not fight at all and seem content to live together with the common goal of getting out of the jar. After one week, a small beetle was placed in the jar for food. 3 days later, the Black Widow and the beetle are both dead. The Brown Recluse spider is still alive, but with only 4 of its 8 legs. In lab conditions, Brown Recluses have lived for several months on only 3 legs--hunting and feeding as normal. Brown Recluses can still bite up to 8 minutes with all 8 legs and even the abdomen removed. So even with only its head intact, it can still deliver a venomous bite. 

Diet and Feeding Habits

As indicated by its name, this spider is not aggressive and usually bites only when pressed against human skin, such as when putting on an article of clothing. Like all Sicariidae spiders, the venom of the Chilean recluse contains the dermonecrotic agent, sphingomyelinase D, which is otherwise found only in a few pathogenic bacteria. According to one study, the venom of the Chilean recluse (along with the six-eyed sand spider), contains an order of magnitude more of this substance than do other Sicariidae spiders such as the brown recluse.

Brown Recluse spiders feed on cockroaches and other insects. They do not spin webs to catch prey but instead hunt for their prey or wait until an insect comes in close proximity to them. Mobile prey like houseflies and relatively harmless prey are held down with the initial bite while the venom does its work. With prey that might be more harmful to the spider, such as other spiders or ants, the Brown Recluse spider will lunge and bite the prey in a vulnerable area and immediately back away while the venom acts to quickly paralyze them. The spider then moves in to feed. The same venom that acts to liquefy an insect's innards for consumption also causes the "flesh rotting" appearances as shown on the left.  Be advised that this is an example of a worst case scenario though.

During the day, Brown Recluse spiders spend their time in quiet, undisturbed places. If they are seen roaming during the day, pesticide applications, hunger, overcrowding or a desire to find a mate has probably brought them out. Sometimes they will be discovered trapped within a smooth surface such as a bathtub or sink. But because they are primarily nocturnal, they will typically begin to stray from their hiding place about an hour or two after dark. This is when they spend their time hunting for food. This explains why many bites occur while victims are sleeping. While they are hunting for food, they may crawl up onto a bed and bite when the victim inadvertently rolls onto the spider during normal sleep movements. Necrosis such as in the above photo above can be the result.

Brown Recluse spiders are remarkably resilient and can survive 6 to 12 months with no food or water and have an average life span of 2 to 4 years. In laboratory conditions, they have lived as long as 7 years. 


Because of shipping, cars, planes and trains, the Brown Recluse spider can be found most anywhere. But the Brown Recluse spiders prefer warm, dry locations. Here are some places where they are typically found indoors:

  • Inside shoes 
  • Inside dressers
  • In showers and bathtubs (slippery surface traps the spider)
  • Underneath couches, tables and chairs
  • In bed sheets of infrequently used beds
  • In stacks of clothes
  • Behind baseboards.
  • In boxes
  • Behind pictures
  • In closets
  • Behind furniture
  • Garages
  • Storage sheds
  • Cellars
  • Firewood
  • Near furnaces and water heaters
  • Behind wall hanging surfaces

Brown Recluse spiders are often blamed for any spider bite which produces a necrotic wound. However, there are other species of spiders which produce necrosis when biting humans. They are: 

Yellow Sac spider bites are believed by some experts to be more common than Brown Recluse bites due to their wide distribution.  

The Chilean Recluse species from South America has been found in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and in Polk County, Florida. In Massachusetts, a substantial population was discovered at Harvard. The Chilean Recluse is believed to be the most toxic Recluse spider and is implicated in a number of deaths in South America. 

The highest concentrations of Brown Recluse spiders are found in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. As an example of their abundance, a 75 minute search of a barn in Missouri yielded 40 Brown Recluse spiders. One study in Missouri found this spider in 70% of the homes that were sampled. 

Brown Recluse First Aid Kits have been sold in all 50 states and include a money back guarantee if you are bitten by any of the above spiders. We receive numerous orders and reports of necrotic wounds from California, Texas, Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Arizona, Alabama and Kentucky.  


  • The Desert Recluse - Found in the Southwestern United States
  • The Arizona Recluse - Found in the Southwestern United States
  • The Mediterranean Recluse - Found in isolated populations throughout the United States. Very similar in appearance to the Brown Recluse. 
  • The Chilean Recluse - Isolated populations found here in Guatemala, Florida, California and Massachusetts .
  • The Hobo Spider - Found in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Yellow Sac Spider . Found all throughout the United States.

Recluse nest with juvenile spiderling nearby.

80% of reproduction occurs in May, June or July but may occur as early as February. Females differ very slightly from males and it is difficult to tell the difference between the two. A male finds its mate through a scent she leaves on the threads of her web or on certain surfaces she has walked on. The female would most likely view the male as suitable prey, but the male usually performs certain maneuvers and/or courtship dances to lure her. If successful, mating will ensue. Females will deposit her eggs in off-white silk cases measuring about 1/3rd of an inch in diameter. An egg sac has an average of 40 eggs and females will often make more than one egg sac. She may make 300 in her lifetime. The eggs are then carried by the female, deposited in a web or attached to plant. Young spiders emerge in 3 to 6 weeks and full maturity is reached in about a year as long as food is adequate and temperatures are mild. The young are fed and/or guarded by the mother for the first few weeks and thick, irregular webbing will be seen in the nest area. 

Dangers to humans

Relatively few spiders are able to pierce the human skin, but the Brown Recluse spider is one of them. Brown Recluse spiders are non-aggressive. They typically hunt at night and most people are bitten by them through accidental contact while putting on clothes, rolling over them in bed at night, or coming into contact with areas where they prefer to dwell. Brown Recluse spiders generally bite when trapped between the skin and another surface such as bed sheets. The bite frequently goes unnoticed until the serious after-effects begin to settle in. The spiders are active in temperatures ranging from 45o F to 110o F but bites can occur at any time of the year in a warm climate where there is a constant temperature.

Medical Info

First aid involves the application of an ice pack to control inflammation, the application of aloe vera to soothe and help control the pain, and prompt medical care. If it can be captured, the spider should be brought with the patient in a clear, tightly closed container for identification. However, by the time the bite is noticed any spider found nearby is not likely to be the culprit.]]

For more information on Recluses in America, check out Anders Nielsen's site by clicking here