Brown Spiders Common in Louisiana

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The brown recluse spider has a dangerous bite.
The brown recluse spider has a dangerous bite. (Image: brown spider image by João Freitas from Fotolia.com)

A wide variety of spiders live in the southern United States. The warm climate and high humidity help to create a habitat that is hospitable to spiders, which dwell in damp, dark places. Among brown spiders found in Louisiana, two—the brown widow and the brown recluse—are widely known as dangerously poisonous. A third, the wolf spider, is less threatening than its appearance might suggest, and the southern house spider is often misidentified as one of its more poisonous relatives.

Brown Widow Spiders

The venomous brown widow spider has been spreading throughout Louisiana since 2007, according to an article from ScienceDaily.com. The brown widow, which is related to the black widow spider, can grow to between 1 and 2 two inches in length. It features a yellowish brown hourglass shape on its abdomen. Although scientists say that the brown widow spider packs a more toxic venom than black widow spiders, the brown widow does not deliver as much venom in its bites. To avoid brown widow spiders, stay away from brush piles and wood piles and stay out of tight, damp crawl spaces. Also make sure to be aware that they might be under objects such as chairs, garbage cans and porch railings.

Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse spider, one of the most well-known species of brown spiders, can be found in small dark spaces in houses. Much smaller than the brown widow spider at only about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length, the brown recluse spider can fit into tiny, damp cracks and crevices. Be wary of dark, damp spots in bathrooms, garages, closets and basements, as these are all common indoor dwellings for brown recluse spiders.

Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders occupy a wide range of environments in Louisiana and much of the United States. You may find them in wooded and thick brush areas of forests, but you may also encounter them in a park setting, a back yard, basement or garage. The wolf spider is a large, brownish-gray spider that can hide and camouflage itself very well in outdoor surroundings until it is almost invisible. Growing up to 4 inches in length, the wolf spider is one of the larger species of arachnids. It bites if threatened. Although its venom is not nearly as dangerous or lethal as the brown widow or brown recluse, it can cause irritation and some pain.

Southern House Spider

The southern house spider, which is often mistaken for the brown recluse spider because of their similar markings and color, are common in human-populated areas throughout the southern United States. They dwell in and around blinds, shutters and window overhangs. The southern house spider can grow to around 2 inches in length. Although they do not have a particularly poisonous bite, an untreated bite can produce light pain and swelling.

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