Division of Arthropods

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
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phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
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tarantula hawk wasp

Division of Arthropods
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Division of Arthropods
Museum of Southwestern Biology
302 Yale Blvd NE
CERIA 83, Room 204
Albuquerque, NM 87131
shipping contact: 505-277-1360

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spider

Photo by K. Gaines

Arachnida, Araneae, Sicariidae, Loxosceles reclusa

Description: Light brown or tan spiders with a slender body and long legs. Cephalothorax (front section of body with head) with a dark brown, violin-shaped marking on top. 6 eyes in three groups of two. Most similar in appearance to the cellar spider or daddy long-legs, but brown recluse spiders are not as slender, and legs not as long. Almost identical in appearance to the Apache recluse spider, but larger and darker brown color.

Geographic Distribution: The brown recluse spider is known to occur in eastern New Mexico, along the Pecos river valley and east to Texas.

Habitats: In buildings and under objects outdoors. Webs are usually located on or near the ground or floors, in dark quiet, undisturbed locations.

Biology: Adults may be found year-round, but especially during the late summer months. Recluse spiders construct small simple, relatively sheet-like webs with retreats into cracks or cavities. They generally stay with their webs, but adult males wander in search of females in late summer.

Health/pest Status: Brown recluse bites are rare, but the venom is dangerous. Bites usually result in skin lesions that do not heal for long periods of time. Secondary bacterial infections are another threat to bite lesions.