It is a tan, long-legged spider with a dark pattern on the cephalothorax that resembles a violin or a fiddle. The Brown Recluse makes a web that appears messy and dense. Brown Recluses usually build their webs close to the ground or floor or against the side of a wall. All spiders in this family, including the Brown Recluse, have only 6 eyes. Like all spiders, the Brown Recluse has 8 legs and 2 body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen).
Brown Recluse spiders prefer dark secluded areas. They are common indoors, and can live all year long in homes, barns, sheds, warehouses, and greenhouses. They are found in protected outdoor areas as well. Brown Recluses tend to hide during the day and hunt for insects (including crickets, cockroaches, and other common indoor insects), spiders, and other creatures at night. Females can lay many eggs at once, and the eggs can hatch in only a few weeks. Because of this, buildings can become quickly infested with brown recluse spiders.
The Brown Recluse Spider is considered one of the most dangerous spiders in the world. Their venom is potent, and in some regions the spiders are very common in homes.
A minority of bites form a necrotising ulcer that destroys soft tissue and may take months and very rarely years to heal, leaving deep scars. The damaged tissue will become gangrenous and eventually slough away. The initial bite frequently cannot be felt and there may be no pain, but over time the wound may grow to as large as 10 inches (25 cm) in extreme cases. Bites usually become painful and itchy within 2 to 8 hours, pain and other local effects worsen 12 to 36 hours after the bite with the necrosis developing over the next few days. Photos from a Brown Recluse bite below. Serious systemic effects may occur before this time, as the venom spreads throughout the body in minutes. Mild symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes, and muscle and joint pain. Rarely more severe symptoms occur including hemolysis, thrombocytopenia, and disseminated intra vascular coagulation. Debilitated patients, the elderly, and children may be more susceptible to systemic loxoscelism. Deaths have been reported for the brown recluse.