(ORDO NEWS) — Brown recluse spiders are known for their venomous bites, which can cause necrotic skin lesions and lead to extremely dangerous reactions, as well as death.
We tell you how to recognize this dangerous type of spider by appearance, and what to do if you are still bitten.
The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is the most common type of brown spider, and fortunately is not found everywhere.
Experts note that these arthropods live mainly in the United States: in particular, in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.
The map shows the US territories inhabited by different types of recluse spiders: red zone – brown recluse; yellow – Loxosceles devia; green – Big Bend recluse; turquoise – Apache recluse; blue – Arizona recluse; purple – desert recluse
Appearance: how to identify a brown recluse spider
The brown recluse is a member of the spider genus Loxosceles. According to Oklahoma State University (USA), members of this group can be identified by specific patterns on the upper part of the cephalothorax (the area between the head and chest, where the legs are attached to the body) – this place is striped in spiders, a bit like a violin body.
By the way, that is why brown hermits are also called violin spiders. However, this pattern may differ depending on the age of the individual, so sometimes you can make a mistake and mistake another arthropod for a hermit.
Because of this, the best way to identify a brown recluse is through its eyes—unlike many others, these spiders have six eyes, not eight.
Brown recluse spiders have six eyes: in the middle, the brown recluse spider has only one pair of eyes, and two more on the sides of it
Another distinctive feature of the brown recluse spider is its evenly colored abdomen, covered with fine hairs, due to which the arthropod acquires a velvety appearance. Their long, slender legs are also covered in fine hairs, rather than spines like some recluse spiders.
Behavior and reproduction of brown recluse spiders
Brown recluse spiders are nocturnal. Like other species, they weave webs that serve as shelters for them, and also function as a warning system when prey is nearby. According to Oklahoma State University (USA), they feed on insects, in particular, crickets and common silverfish.
Closer to the morning, when it starts to get light, recluse spiders find dark sheltered shelters – for example, in cracks and crevices of rocks. But if there is a human habitation nearby, then spiders can climb into shoes or garbage cans, as well as rubber tires or tarps.
Due to the fact that brown recluse spiders can live near humans, they are often referred to as “domestic” spiders
In addition, recluse spiders can “travel” from house to house, climbing, for example, into furniture boxes. Therefore, when moving, you can accidentally bring these “parasites” into a new home.
However, such long-lived spiders, which live an average of 2 to 4 years in the wild and up to 7 years in laboratories, have remarkable survival skills and can go without food for six to 12 months.
The laying season runs from April to July, but it only takes a female brown recluse to mate once to produce 150 or more spiderlings a year.
In total, females can lay eggs up to five times in their lifetime. Therefore, if a pregnant female accidentally gets into your things, then your new home is probably doomed in advance.
Brown recluse bite: symptoms and treatment
Like most spiders, the brown recluse usually only bites when disturbed. Although in some situations, he can bite and “just in case”, for example, if the spider is in bedding or clothing.
Most often, people do not feel when they are bitten by hermit spiders, but after a few hours, the bite site begins to ache.
At the same time, two different people can react differently to spider venom – in about 10% of cases, brown recluse bites cause moderate or severe tissue damage and scarring. But the vast majority of bites become inflamed, and then heal without medical intervention and do not leave scars.
Children may be more sensitive to bites from brown recluse spiders
In people with hypersensitivity, the bite of a brown recluse spider can cause a necrotic lesion. In this case, a large blister forms on the skin, and over the next days or weeks, the poison begins to destroy the tissue around the wound. After healing, a visible scar may remain.
In addition, brown recluse bite symptoms may include itching, chills, fever, nausea, sweating, and a general feeling of discomfort or illness.
More severe symptoms include coma, blood in the urine, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, kidney failure, and seizures. In rare cases, a bite can cause systemic loxoscelism, a serious disease that is a bleeding disorder and the destruction of red blood cells.
As such, there is no antidote for the bite of brown recluse spiders, so if you are still unlucky enough to be bitten, first wash the bite with soap and water, then wrap ice in some kind of cloth and apply this bandage to the wound.
After ten minutes, remove and repeat the procedure. And of course, go to the toxicology department of the hospital as soon as possible.
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