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Help! Brown Recluse spiders want to eat me :P

Okay...this may sound stupid to all your spider lovers...

Last summer, I was bitten...not once, but twice by a Brown Recluse Spider...maybe by the same one..maybe by more than one (do they come in gangs???). Anyway, I was told, after my outer thigh swelled like a balloon and looked like I had flesh eating disease, that I had been bitten by a Brown Recluse...lucky me. I live in Massachusetts and they apparently don't live around here...but since my bite (that wasn't supposed to happen), I've seen (and exterminated via shoe) three spiders that look exactly like a brown recluse spiders. Are there northeastern spiders that look just like Brown Recluse Spiders?? Please help before I sell my house and move to Canada to escape this Hitchcock nightmare of mine.

Get well soon!
First, get well soon! Second, it is conceivable that brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) could have been accidentally introduced to your area via commerce, having hitchhiked on products from areas where recluse spiders are native (mostly the southern midwest). Also, there are other potential sources of necrotic wounds, and it might pay to investigate them. Please see Dr. Rick Vetter's website on causes of necrotic wounds. Obviously, this is a serious medical condition, and correct diagnosis and treatment is paramount. I am not a medical doctor, so will not comment further. Collectively, we do wish you well here at bugguide:-)

Brown recluse spider info, etc.
Here is a link to the site Eric mentioned:
Causes of necrotic wounds other than brown recluse spider bites
Here are a few tips on identifying a brown recluse spider:
The brown recluse has uniformly colored legs covered with fine hairs. The legs have no stripes, banding, or spines on them. The abdomen is also uniformly colored.
The body of the brown recluse is under half an inch in length.
The brown recluse has six eyes whereas most spiders have eight (this can only be determined with the use of a microscope.)

about brown recluse spiders
Thank you for responding to my question. I feel I should clear something up. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider last summer ( a year ago)...I've already been medically treated and had surgery to remove the dead tissue. I appreciate the details about brown recluse spiders, but I was wondering if there are spiders in the NE of the US that -look- similar to brown recluse there a link for that? Thanks again!

Recluse Spiders in MA
There is one spider related to the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) in Massachusetts, the Mediterranean Recluse (Loxosceles rufescens); although it is suspected that it is NOT dangerous like the brown recluse. I have found records of it being in MA (not sure of the exact locations; probably in the Berkshires, near NY & CT state lines). My guess is that it is not very common due to our climate.

Here is a link to an image: link.
Some more info: lnk.

There are other small "brown" spiders around MA; some sac spiders and smaller funnel-web spiders might resemble a recluse at the first "not-so-good" glance, but usually the more careful second glance confirms it is not a recluse.

To be honest, you have nothing to worry about from spiders in MA. We only have two types of spiders that can be of concern:
+ Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus) - Not commonly found...
+ Some spp. of Sac Spiders (not medically serious, but the bite is unpleasant). They do wander into homes, but easily and safely removed.

recluse spider information
Thanks so much for the info. It was extremely helpful and very comforting. I was never so afraid of spiders, but I've been paranoid since my bite.

about brown recluse spiders
I only know of one spider in the area you specified that looks similar to the Brown Recluse, it is Dysdera crocata, which is harmless to humans. Take a look at this site: Identifying and Misidentifying the Brown Recluse Spider It shows several spiders that look a bit like the Brown Recluse. Also, take a look at this site which has some more info on the Brown Recluse:
Spiders and other Arachnids at UC Riverside

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