Spiders are members of the largest order of arachnids and divided into two groups―poisonous and non-poisonous. One of the poisonous spiders is the fiddleback spider.
Loxosceles reclusa or fiddleback spider is also known as the violin spider and more appropriately, the brown recluse spider. This spider is a nocturnal creature and is thoroughly reclusive in nature. They tend to hide themselves and it is a rare occasion when you will be able to spot one.
Species: Loxosceles reclusa
Species: Loxosceles reclusa
Violin spiders are aptly named so, as have a fiddle-shaped pattern on their head region and slightly look like a violin on their dorsal cephalothorax. The brown recluse spiders are light tan to dark brown in color. They are about 1 to 5 cm in length from leg to leg and have very slender legs that makes them quick.
The females are larger than the males and have a dark violin shape on their back. The brown recluse spiders have six eyes, as opposed to most spiders that have eight eyes. The eyes are arranged in pairs; there is one median pair and two lateral pairs.
The brown recluse spider habitat is primarily in the midwest America. They are found in both North and South America. They are found in the states of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
They prefer dark, dry, and secluded areas, as they are basically reclusive in nature. Therefore, you will find their webs in the woodpiles, attics, storage boxes, piles of clothes, or places that are isolated.
You can easily identify a fiddleback spider bite by the eccentric circles and the red, white, and blue coloration of the bite area due to reactive erythema, vascoconstriction, and thrombosis. Normally, these shy spiders do not bite humans and a bite is usually in self-defense.
When bitten by this spider, you won't feel any pain initially, but experience excruciating pain afterwards. After about an hour of the bite, you will feel a burning sensation and after about 6 to 12 hours you will observe a small pimple or blister.
The venom causes a necrotic reaction that leads to broad range tissue damage. Then, in the next 10 to 14 hours there will be development of a sunken, open ulcerated sore. This ulcerated open sore is dark in color and irregularly shaped that is several centimeters in diameter.
The systemic reaction develops within 24 to 36 hours and the symptoms include fever, chills, restlessness, nausea, weakness, and pain in the joints. The tissue of the surrounding bite area is dead and gangrenous.
The wound can last up to months and you should seek medical attention immediately after the bite. It is a wise idea to kill the spider and take it along to the hospital emergency room for positive identification of the spider by the doctor. This will help minimize the chances of doubt and the doctor can continue with the appropriate medical treatment.
The elderly, children, and people who are weak health wise are more susceptible to systemic loxoscelism. The severe systemic loxiscelism or system reactions are due to anemia, thrombocytopenia, and renal failure that leads to death. The fiddleback spider bite is dangerous, however, death due to its bite is a rare occurrence.
There is no anti venom available for the brown recluse spider bite. You should apply an ice pack to control the inflammation as the first step. Then you can apply aloe vera jel that will sooth the burning sensation and control the pain. The doctor may carry out local wound care and tetanus prophylaxis, as there is no specific treatment for necrosis.
You should clear out all the cracks and crevices in your home, as these spiders usually live in these areas. They hide in clothes, bed sheets, and towels and bite when they are pressed against the skin while wearing clothes, sleeping on the bed, or wiping yourself with a towel.
Therefore, always shake your clothes, towels, and bed sheets before using them, especially if they were left undisturbed for a long time. Maintain a little bit of caution and call for professional pest control to keep your home safe from these spiders.