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July 1989

Picture of the Month

Author Affiliations

Contributed from the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Demmler, Levy, and Mishaw), Microbiology and Immunology (Dr Demmler), and Dermatology (Dr Levy), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex; and the Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station (Dr Cole). Drs Thaller and Benson are in private pediatric practice in Houston.

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(7):843-844. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150190093029

Denouement and Discussion  The brown recluse is a medium-sized spider with rather long legs that cover an area of about the size of a quarter to a half-dollar (Fig 1). The legs and body are covered with fine hairs, and it is light to tawny brown. Most spiders have eight eyes; however, the brown recluse has only six eyes. Another distinguishing characteristic is the dark violin or fiddle-shaped marking directly above the legs on the cephalothorax.In the United States, there are 13 species of spiders belonging to the genus Loxosceles. The bite of at least 4 species—Loxosceles reclusa, Loxosceles deserta, Loxosceles laeta, and Loxosceles rufescens—is associated with systemic reactions in humans. The species L reclusa, commonly called the brown recluse spider, violin spider, or fiddleback spider, is by far the species most commonly associated with human bites. It inhabits many southern and midwestern states, ineluding Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas,