Figure 2-2. The brown recluse spider (top view).
a. The brown recluse seeks the same hiding places the black widow finds to
live, i.e., shady, hidden areas such as grass, weed shelters, rocky bluffs, and rock piles.
It is also found in blankets, shoes, and clothing; however, few people are ever bitten by
this nocturnal and retiring spider.
b. The venom injected by the brown recluse spider generally causes a
gangrenous mass of dead tissue at the site of the bite and a severe reaction affecting
the body as a whole may also occur. A mild, stinging sensation is felt at first, but pain
may occur from 2-8 hours after the biting occurred. The venom injected by this spider is
hematoxic in that it affects the blood system. Occasionally a severe systemic reaction
occurs which affects the entire body system.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER BITES
The victim experiences a mild transitory stinging at the time of the bite but has
little associated pain. He is restless and has fever with flu-like symptoms. It is possible
that a rash similar to scarlet fever will develop but the patient may be unaware of being
bitten and the spider is seldom seen. Within 2 to 8 hours after the bite, pain ensues that
is mild to severe and an ulcer may form at the site of the bite after several days.
Necrotic tissue at the bite site may develop and become so severe that eventual skin
grafting may be required. Occasionally, the patient may suffer severe systemic
reactions or Hemolytic syndrome.