Brown Recluse Spiders Identification and Biology

By staff

Print article   Share Article

Physical Appearance

  • Light tan to brown in color
  • May grow to be between ¼" and ¾" long, with a diameter of 1" including its legs
  • Markings just behind the head appear in a "violin pattern", with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider
  • Has only 6 eyes, while most spiders have 8

Behavior & Habitat

The brown recluse is native to and found throughout the United States. Brown Recluse Spiders build irregular webs (no apparent pattern) in dry, dark, undisturbed places such as woodpiles, sheds, closets, or garages. Unlike most spiders that stay near the web, the Brown Recluse leaves its web at night to hunt. This spider is not naturally aggressive and usually only bites when it is threatened or pressed against human skin (such as when it is tangled up in clothing or bedding)

Feeding Habits

Brown Recluse spiders prefer a diet consisting of pests such as cockroaches and other small insects. Feeding most often occurs at night.

Life Cycle

The Brown Recluse egg sac is off-white in color, about 1/3" in diameter, and generally contains about 50 eggs per sac. Females produce about 5 sacs in a lifetime. Tiny baby spiders increase in size gradually, molting five to eight times before reaching adulthood.  The average lifespan is 2 to 4 years, with maturation spanning the first year.


While actual brown recluse bites are rare, the venom can cause serious side effects and infestations should be taken seriously. If you think you have been bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider or a spider of any kind, you should always contact your physician immediately.

Brown Recluse General Prevention & Control :

View all spider control products.


Was this article informative and helpful to you?   Yes No