Brown Recluse Spider n. A venomous spider (Loxosceles reclusa) having an hourglass-shaped mark on the cephalothorax, introduced into the southern United States from South America. (I could swear my brown recluse has an hour glass shape too. Hmmmmm.....)
Recluse spiders build irregular webs that frequently include a shelter consisting of disorderly threads (AKA a dysfunctional home). These spiders frequently build their webs in woodpiles and sheds, closets, garages, cellars (Yup, lived in places like these) and other places that are dry and generally undisturbed. They seem to favor cardboard when dwelling in human residences, possibly because it mimics the rotting tree bark which they naturally inhabit. (Does this mean that my mother will eventually become a
They also go into shoes, inside dressers, in bed sheets of infrequently used beds, in stacks of clothes, behind baseboards, behind pictures and near furnaces. (Sounds like my mother to me.) The common source of human-recluse contact is during the cleaning of these spaces, when their isolated spaces suddenly are disturbed and the spider feels threatened. Unlike most web weavers, they leave these webs at night to hunt. Males will move around more when hunting while females don't usually stray far from their web.
Most bites are minor with no necrosis. However, a small number of bites produce severe dermonecrotic lesions, and, sometimes, severe systemic symptoms, including organ damage. Rarely, the bite may also produce a systemic condition with occasional fatalities. (This fits my mother to a T. She hurts you then proceeds to kill you... bit by little bit)