Desert Recluse Spiders


  • Latin Name: Loxosceles deserta
  • Size: 1/3” body length, about 1” including the legs
  • Color: Tan to red or brown with a fiddle design on the back.
  • Shape: Two body segments, eight legs, and six eyes
  • Found in: California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona
  • Overview: The desert recluse spider is often mislabeled as the brown recluse spider, but it should be noted that brown recluse and desert recluse spiders do not live in the same climate.

Origin: The origin of the desert recluse spider is unknown.
Climate: The desert recluse spider likes a hot and humid environment.
Favorite Foods: The desert recluse spider is a carnivore and prefers to feast on insects.
Family: A desert recluse spider will typically live two to four years. In rare cases, the desert recluse spider has been reported to live seven years. The spider can go almost a year without food. Desert recluse spider populations are usually dense.
Unique Facts: Like other recluse spiders, the desert recluse has a violin shape on his back, but it may be difficult to see because it is the same color as the rest of the spider.  The three pairs of eyes on a desert recluse spider are in a semicircle. Desert recluse spiders prefer to live away from humans and are typically only transported inside by accident on firewood or in clothing that has been sitting in storage.
Signs of a problem: The desert recluse spider is likely to live outdoors in dead cactus, rats’ nests or wood. If inside, they will reside in cinder blocks, holes in the wall or piles of clothing on the floor. Unlike other types of spiders that move from place to place by being carried with the wind on their silk string, the only way desert recluse spiders move is by running or being transported by humans. Most of the time when transported by humans it is done unknowingly.
Do they attack humans? Yes, but not frequently and the venom is not deadly. If a desert recluse spider bites you, you may see a red bump at the bite site. The red bump can be misdiagnosed as several different conditions, so it is best to bring the spider with you to the doctor. The red bump may change to an open sore wound and take several weeks to heal because the venom in desert recluse spiders damages human tissue.
Stopping an infestation:  Remove wood from next to your home. Wear gloves when going out to get fire wood. Keep the inside of your house clean and do not leave clothes on the floor. Shake out clothing and shoes before putting them on. One of the only times a desert recluse spider will bite is when you step on it or roll on it because it is in your clothing. Spraying pesticide is a difficult way to control spiders because they are nocturnal and you need to be able to see the spider in order to spray it. Call a pest control professional if you believe you have a problem in your home with desert recluse spiders.

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