The brown recluse is a venomous spider most commonly found in midwestern and southern states of the United States. It is about one-half inch overall and has long skinny legs. The brown recluse is brown with a characteristic dark violin-shaped marking on its head. It is most commonly found outside in wood, leaves, or in piles of rocks. If a brown recluse wanders indoors they will go to dark closets, shoes, or attics. The brown recluse is a non-aggressive spider and will only bite when it is disturbed.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.