The brown recluse, a very dangerous spider


“To live happily, let’s live in hiding”, such is the philosophy adopted by the brown recluse. This spider discreet hides during the day and goes out at night. Faced with danger, the timid animal prefers to flee but knows how to defend itself in case of need. Beware of her bite painful that can lead to necrosis of skin tissue! Close-up on an arachnid venomous who doesn’t like to be disturbed.

Who is the brown recluse spider?

The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is an arachnid belonging to the group of araneomorphs and to the family of scarids. Like other Loxosceles, it is also nicknamed “spider violinist”Because of the shape of its cephalothorax which is reminiscent of the stringed instrument. There are more than 100 species recluse spiders, the brown one being the best known of all. The animal measures 0.8 to 1 cm on average, the male showing a size slightly lower to that of the female. In any case, this little spider does not exceed 1.5 cm.

What does the brown recluse spider look like?

As seen previously, the brown recluse bears a mark in the shape of a violin on the back (the handle of the dark brown instrument points to the spider’s bulbous abdomen). The rest of his body takes on a uniform color light brown. The animal is also distinguished by its six eyes, arranged in a semicircle of three pairs, against eight eyes for most other spiders. The brunette recluse covers herself with fine hairs, including on the legs, giving it a velvety appearance.

Brown recluse: is her bite dangerous?

The brown recluse usually doesn’t show up agressive unless she is disturbed or feels threatened. She then bites her victim with her fangs short and injects a cytotoxic venom the characteristic of which is to directly kill the cells located near the bite, resulting in necrosis. The intensity of the physical reaction depends on the amount of venom injected and the sensitivity of the affected individual (child, elderly, sick, etc.). The wound, very painful, sometimes takes up to two months healing. In very rare cases, the bite causes vomiting, nausea, fever, partial paralysis, or even death from circulatory failure or kidney failure.

Can we meet the brown recluse in France?

The brown recluse is found mainly in some US states (central, south and Midwest) as well as in a very localized area of ​​Mexico (east) and Ontario, Canada (south and east). The spread of the arachnid occurs through shipments of goods and global warming. In recent years, the question has arisen of its presence in France after the reporting of suspected cases of bites in several departments (Hérault, Gard, Aude, Roussillon, Pyrénées-Orientales, etc.). In Meurthe-et-Moselle, a victim came close toamputation of the arm which was finally saved after four operations and a skin graft. While it is not excluded that trade could have favoredimport of the brown recluse in France, some experts attribute the bites more to another violinist spider, the Loxosceles rufescens, species officially recorded in France.

In what environment does the brown recluse spider live?

As the name suggests, the recluse is a spider timid who spends the day on the web she takes care of weaving in a quiet place, having not been recently occupied. At theoutside, it finds refuge in dark and dry areas: under logs, piles of wood, rocks …interior, she is happy to isolate herself in garages, attics, sheds, basements or under tarpaulins. The arachnid also shelters in packaging and other cardboard boxes, thus involuntarily leaving its natural range during a shipment of goods.

What does the brown recluse spider eat?

It’s here night, in complete safety, that this fierce spider comes out of its peaceful retreat to seek its prey. The brown recluse goes on a diet carnivorous, composed in particular of crickets, mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, silverfish, cockroaches … and various invertebrates sharing its environment. Although a hunter, the arachnid readily reveals itself scavenger, reveling in dead insects encountered during his nocturnal outings. Namely that the brown recluse can go months without eating or drinking, especially thewinter when food becomes scarce.

How does the brown recluse spider reproduce?

In the brown recluse, the reproduction period extends from May to July. The female – which can lay eggs up to five times a year – releases between 40 and 50 eggs with each spawning, which she then locks in a cocoon of silk. After about a month ofincubation, the spiders come out of their bag and stay on their mother’s web to accomplish their different moults. In their first year of life, young arachnids molt up to seven times before reaching age adult. Their long development depends heavily on climatic conditions and available food resources. Once an adult, the brown recluse spider still lives one to two years.