The Brown Recluse Spider: NOT FOUND IN UTAH!!!
Tales of gory wounds have made this spider feared in areas where it’s not even found.
The brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, is one of the few North American spiders well known to the public because of its sinister reputation for causing skin lesions. Most bites from the brown recluse are of minor concern: They don’t develop serious skin injuries and they heal nicely without medical intervention. In rare cases, though, bites can cause severe rotting flesh lesions, taking several months to heal and leaving a disfiguring scar.
Despite what many members of the medical community and the public mistakenly believe, however, the brown recluse is not a common spider throughout the U.S. It’s only widespread in the Midwestern region, in an area bordered roughly from southeastern Nebraska to southwestern Ohio, south into Texas and to northern Georgia.
Toward the periphery of the brown recluse range — for example, northern Georgia, the central parts of Illinois and Indiana and the eastern areas of Tennessee and Kentucky — brown recluse populations start to diminish. However, its infamy has led to both the public and the medical community believing that the spider is ubiquitous throughout North America.
In areas that don’t have brown recluses, a multitude of dermal wounds have been mistaken as brown recluse bites, when the actual causes have nothing to do with spiders. However, all recluse spider species tested so far carry the dangerous venom enzyme that causes skin lesions, so even untested species should be considered of potential medical importance. There are 10 other native Loxosceles species in the U.S., all living in the Southwestern region. Five species have widespread distribution.
Check in Next Monday for Part 2 of 5 on the Brown Recluse Spider