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The brown recluse, Loxosceles reclusa, is a recluse spider with a necrotic venom. These spiders are about a half of an inch in length with a trademark violin-shaped spot on the dorsal side of their cephalothorax. They are native to the south-central United States and can only successfully survive in dry, undisturbed areas, such as rock or woodpiles.
Brown recluse bites don’t always hurt right away. In fact, you may not even know that you are suffering from their venom until other symptoms come about.
- Reddened skin that may precede a blister that forms at the site.
- Mild to intense itching and pain for 2 to 8 hours following the bite.
- An open sore with necrosis (a breakdown of tissue) that develops a week or more following the bite. This may take months to heal.
Adult brown recluse spiders most commonly live for about one to two years. The females produce several egg sacs from May to July, with approximately fifty eggs in each sac. It takes about one month for the eggs to hatch. The spiderlings take around a year to grow to adulthood. They are a resilient species and can tolerate up to six months of extreme drought and a scarcity or complete absence of food.
The brown recluse does not happen to be one of the indigenous species to Michigan, as they cannot survive in temperatures colder than 40°F; because of this they are infrequent in the state. It is believed that those that are found have come in on trucks originating in the southern United States.
Despite this, there can isolated populations of these spiders living in the state on rare occasions. Still, keep in mind that the vast majority of Michiganders will never come within a half-mile of a brown recluse spider.