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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

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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Southern House Mosquito Bites After Dark In Residential Areas Where They Can Transmit Multiple Diseases To Humans

Mosquitoes are becoming more abundant in southern Arizona, and so are human cases of mosquito-borne disease. The most significant mosquito-borne disease in the state, the west Nile virus, was virtually unheard of in the southwest 15 years ago, but now, mosquitoes are transmitting this disease to numerous residents of Maricopa and Pima Counties. Unfortunately, mosquitoes infected with the west Nile virus may be growing in number at higher elevations in more northern areas of the state, as infected mosquitoes were collected from Flagstaff less than two weeks ago. The last human cases of west Nile in Flagstaff were reported back in 2010, but another batch of west Nile-infected mosquitoes were collected in Flagstaff three months ago, indicating that the local population is at an increased risk of contracting the infection this year. Culex quinquefasciatus is one mosquito species that can transmit west Nile to humans, and this species thrives within urban and suburban areas where it breeds in stagnant water sources found in residential yards.

Culex quinquefasciatus is more commonly known as the “southern house mosquito,” and this species can be identified by the five lines that adorn its abdomen. However, identifying this species by physical features is both difficult and unnecessary, as southern Arizona residents know this species as the mosquitoes that frequently inflict bites after the sun goes down. This mosquito can also be identified readily by the particularly loud buzzing sound that it produces. This buzzing sound contributes to the species’ reputation as a nuisance pest in and around households, but this species’ is most notable for its ability to transmit diseases from birds to humans. In addition to the west Nile virus, southern house mosquitoes also transmit St. Louis encephalitis and other encephalitis diseases in humans. These mosquitoes even transmit a parasite that causes heartworm in dogs. Southern house mosquitoes are only able to survive due to the ease with which they locate stagnant water sources in human populated areas. Removing containers that have collected rainwater and reducing the amount of water used to feed lawn grass can go a long way at reducing the southern house mosquito population in neighborhoods and parks in the state.

Do you recall sustaining mosquito bites after dark?