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Multiple Recluse Species In Arizona Are Now Known To Inflict Necrotic Bite Wounds, And One Species Is Frequently Found Within And Near Homes In The State

The venomous brown recluse spider is notorious for inflicting painful bites to humans that sometimes cause tissue necrosis at the wound. In other words, brown recluse bites can cause skin to rot and literally fall off, exposing the muscle underneath. Luckily, brown recluse spiders are not found in Arizona, but a few of their close relatives can be found in the state. For example, the desert recluse and the aptly named Arizona recluse are the two most widespread recluse species in Arizona, and recent evidence has revealed that these two species inflict bites that cause tissue necrosis just like their well known cousin. Furthermore, the desert recluse is most often found within and around houses, but they don’t look as intimidating as many would suspect.

While the desert recluse is a native species that is well established throughout Arizona, the Arizona recluse can only be found in the southern half of the state, including Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Bisbee. Desert recluse spiders are often encountered indoors and in yards where they frequently bite due to their preference for nesting beneath wood, leaf litter, rocks, and items lying in the yard that are likely to be picked up. This spider species inflicts wounds that develop necrotic tissue, and in most cases, the dead tissue must be surgically removed, leaving behind a nasty hold where skin used to be. However, bites from the desert recluse do not cause significant systemic symptoms, unlike bites from the brown recluse.

Female desert recluse spiders are around ⅓ of an inch in length, making it slightly smaller than the brown recluse, but the desert recluse possesses longer legs. This makes the spiders look much larger than they are, and they tend to be spotted quickly do to their brown-colored exterior, which makes them stand out in front of white walls.

Do you believe that you have encountered a recluse spider species in your home in the past?

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