Loxosceles reclusa, the brown recluse

Loxosceles reclusa, the brown recluse

Among the more interesting animals to appear at the BugShot photography workshop was a Loxosceles reclusa caught wandering about the basement of the assembly building. I had never seen one before.

Most of us are taught to recognize the famously venomous recluse by a violin-shaped pattern on the spider’s back. But other species, including some common wolf spiders, sport similar markings, so it is better to make use of eye arrangement to confirm the identification. The recluse’s eyes are grouped, unusually, into three clusters: a central pair and two lateral pairs, clearly visible in the photograph above.

brown recluse Loxosceles reclusa

Although the venom of this arachnid can cause nasty lesions that fail to heal, the brown recluse has an undeservedly poor reputation. This single spider catches blame for bites by a great many species, as well as a host of skin conditions that aren’t even arthropod bites. In fact, the brown recluse occupies a surprisingly small geographic range in the center of the United States. Necrotic bites along the east and west coasts result from other, unrelated spiders.

Incidentally, I regard these photos as something of a personal milestone. I am mildly arachnophobic, you see.

brown recluse Loxosceles reclusa


photo details:
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 100-400, 1/125 sec, f/11 – f/13
indirect strobe in a white box