Symptom: Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spider Bites

    Black widow spiders (Latrodectus mactans) may be black or brown with a leg span of approximately one to two inches. Most can be identified by a red hourglass marking on the abdomen. They are located throughout the United States. Their toxin causes nerve cell dysfunction and muscle cell twitching.Brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) are tan to dark brown with a leg span of approximately 1 inch. Many have a violin-shaped marking on the chest. They are located mainly in the south central United States.Both black widow and brown recluse spiders are common in North America and throughout the world. Human contact with these spiders is usually accidental.


    Medical Author: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, Chief Medical Editor


    Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape Spider Envenomations, Brown Recluse »In the United States, reports of severe envenomations by brown spiders began to appear in the late 1800s, and today, in endemic areas, brown spiders continue to be of significant clinical concern. Read More on Medscape Reference »
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