Brown Recluse Spider Prevalent in Memphis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The brown recluse spider (also known as the violin spider) ranges between 1/4 inches and 3/4 inches across, though larger spiders have been found. The coloration ranges between light brown and in some cases dark gray. The abdomen and the thorax are not necessarily the same color and the legs may be lighter color than the body. The violin shaped marking is found on the back of the spider with the “neck” of the violin pointing at the rear of the spider. This violin pattern is not exclusive to the brown recluse however. Cellar spiders and pirate spiders also have similar markings. Another kind of diagnostic is that unlike most spiders which have eight eyes, brown recluse spiders have six, in three sets.

Brown recluse eggs contain about 50 to each batch. The eggs hatch about one month after being laid. The brown recluse must survive about 11 months before the spiderling can be considered a breeding adult. The female brown recluse lays several batches of eggs in a several month period. The brown recluse is a tenacious creature able to live up to six months without food or water.

The brown recluse is not an aggressive spider, they will flee more often than not. They tend to scamper more than jump, and if they have to jump they will do so along a surface rather than off of a surface. If it feels threatened the brown recluse will stand motionless with the rear legs ready to lunge with the mouth parts raised. These parts will be darker in adult brown recluse spiders. When traveling the spider must stop periodically to reset the hydraulic blood pressure that keeps their legs moving.

The brown recluse generally sticks to the southern states, mainly from central Texas to western Georgia. The domestic brown recluse tends to make its home in the lower parts of the Midwest. You can find their webs in woodpiles and sheds and other darker places around your home. Cardboard is also a frequent habitat of the brown recluse when found in human dwellings. The brown recluse leaves their web lair at night to hunt. Males will tend to range further from their dwelling while females will stick closer to it.

The brown recluse is not an aggressive spider by nature and bites from the spider are very rare. Most bites tend to happen when the spider is feeling threatened and cannot escape (for example in a pair of work gloves and fingers inserting trapping the spider). Many bites are reported when someone puts on clothes they have left on the floor overnight or not worn in a while. The fangs of the spider are very small and not even able to penetrate most types of fabric. When bitten you might not even know you have been. If a brown recluse is in your shoe and you wear socks before putting your foot in, you may even be safe from the bite altogether. That being said, if you start showing signs of a bite by a brown recluse you should seek immediate medical attention, the bite is potentially deadly especially for the elderly, the infirm and children.

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