Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Arthro-Pod Episode 30: Get to Know the Brown Recluse

Hi there bug lovers! On today's show Mike and Jonathan are talking all about the infamous brown recluse! While this eight-legged animal may inspire fear in the heart of many, perhaps it is just misunderstood? Tune in to learn about where the brown recluse lives, what may actually be responsible for those gross pictures you see online, and how to identify if you have a brown recluse or not!

Helpful size comparison of brown recluse to an American quarter (Jim Kalisch; UNL Entomology)

Here are our show notes with some helpful quotations pulled by Mike:

"From the beginning, the diagnosis of brown recluse spider bite was based on supposition much more than fact"

"2,055 brown recluse spiders...were a home in Lenexa, KS. Additional collections from more typically infested homes in Missouri and Oklahoma in 2001 yielded 45 and 30 brown recluse spiders, respectively. Despite these infestations, no envenomations of the inhabitants of these three homes occurred. Considering the levels of infestations with no bites in the homes presented here, nonendemic areas in the United States, which typically lack recluse spider populations and have had zero to few verified specimens of the spider, do not have sufficient numbers of brown recluse spiders to make envenomation a likely scenario."

"Brown recluse spiders are not found in Canada. Hobo spiders have not been reliably implicated in  dermonecrosis. Worldwide, spider-bite envenomation is an unlikely cause of dermonecrosis."

"In total, 1,773 arachnids [were submitted] from 49 states. Participants from states at least half within the known brown recluse distribution submitted Loxosceles spiders 32–89% of the time. From 25 of 29 states completely or almost completely outside of the range of Loxosceles spiders, no recluse spiders were submitted."

"The diagnosis of brown recluse spider bite is overused for dermonecrotic wounds of uncertain etiology"

"The medical community from non-endemic Loxosceles areas often makes loxoscelism diagnoses solely on the basis of dermonecrotic lesions where Loxosceles spiders are rare or non-existent."

"Among both physicians and the general public, the perceived threat of spider bites far exceeds the actual risk. The misdiagnosis of spider bites is given to a wide spectrum of dermatologic conditions, some of which are far more dangerous than a spider bite."

The six eyes that help to ID a brown recluse (Jim Kalisch; UNL Entomology)

Questions? Comments? 

Follow the hosts on Twitter @JLarson_UNL@JodyBugsmeUNL, and @MSkvarla36

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This episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Beginning/ending theme: "There It Is" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0