Brown Spiders

There are two types of brown spiders or brown recluse spiders in Arizona. They often are called violin spiders because of the characteristic "violin-shaped" marking on the upper back. They are generally brown but can range in color from yellow to dark brown. They are timid with webs in dry undisturbed areas. The Arizona species is not the same as the brown recluse spider in the Midwest.

The bite of the brown spider is a serious medical condition. The bite is non-healing and causes tissue death. Sometimes surgery is necessary. The bite causes only a mild stinging sensation if any at all. Victims often are unaware they have been bitten. Several hours after the bite, the following signs and symptoms begin to result:

  1. A small white area appears surrounded by a margin of redness which may produce a mild itching pain.
  2. A blister appears surrounded by mild swelling and redness.
  3. A "bulls-eye" or "target" lesion develops
  4. There may be fever, chills, rash, hives, nausea and pain in the joints over the next few days.

The target lesion will enlarge over the next few days and produce extensive tissue death. There is no anti-venom. The lesion will have to be soaked in antiseptic and possibly antibiotics. Surgery may be necessary to cut out the dead tissue.

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