Brown Recluse Spider

Actual Size:  ⅜” 

Characteristics: Light to dark brown, violin marking behind the head.

Legs: 8

Habitat: Constructs webs in any dark, undisturbed area in closets, basements, and garages. Will wander into shoes, boxes, bedding, and clothing items.


  • Reclusive and passive hunters.
  • Also referred to as the ‘violin’ or ‘fiddleback’ spider.
  • Found in cracks and crevices in and under rocks or the loose bark of dead trees.

Brown Recluse Spiders in South Carolina

The most common North American recluse spider is the brown recluse, also referred to as the ‘violin’ or ‘fiddleback’ spider because of the violin-shaped marking on its dorsum. Found throughout Georgia, brown recluse spiders are rare outside their native range. In general, these spiders are widely over-reported and less common than perceived. Brown recluse spiders are venomous, but bites do not always result in large, necrotic lesions where surrounding tissue dies. Often, the bite goes unnoticed and only results in a pimple-like swelling.  One of the best factors for identifying a brown recluse vs. a southern house spider, as they can both have violins on their cephalothorax, is the shape of the eyes. A brown recluse has 6 eyes in a sort of horseshoe shape while the southern house spider has eight eyes all clustered together. The brown recluse eye pattern can lead to some confusion with another spider called a spitting spider, but a spitting spider is heavily patterned and will lack a fiddle shape on its cephalothorax.

Brown Recluse Spider Habitat

Brown recluse spiders can be found indoors and outdoors.  As their name implies, brown recluse spiders are reclusive. In nature, recluses are found in cracks and crevices in and under rocks or the loose bark of dead trees. Recluse spiders prefer to squeeze themselves into tight spaces and are found more commonly on rough surfaces such as paper, wood, and cardboard rather than smooth surfaces such as ceramic and metal. Recluses benefit from human-altered environments, where they are readily found under trash cans, plywood, tarps, rubber tires, and storage boxes.

Brown Recluse Spider Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

The venom component of all recluse spiders is capable of causing necrotic skin damage. Fortunately, brown recluse spider bites are rare and only occur when the spider feels directly threatened. Of medical concern is that the brown recluse seeks refuge inside shoes, underneath clothes left on the floor, in gardening clothes, or gloves left in the garage. Although brown recluse spider bites are rare, the venom can sometimes cause serious wounds and infestations should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know may have experienced a brown recluse bite, it is important to always seek medical attention. If you are dealing with brown recluse spider problems on your property, contact your local spider exterminators.

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