The brown recluse spider is a venomous spider whose bite can make children and adults sick. The fiddler spider, unusually for spiders, has six eyes (most spiders have eight) and a violin-shaped spot on its back. If you live in an area or go on vacation where violin spiders are common, it's good to learn how to spot them. Read on to learn more about how to spot a fiddler spider.
Part 1 of 3: The characteristics of a violin spider
Step 1. Look at the color
A fiddler spider has a ground or sand colored body with a slightly darker spot in the middle. Its legs are lighter brown and uniform in color, without extra markings.
- If the spider has stripes or other pigments on its legs, it is not a violin spider.
- If the spider has more than two shades on its back, it is not a violin spider.
- If the spider's legs are darker than its body, it is not a fiddler spider.
Step 2. Look at the violin-shaped spot on the spider's back
It has a slightly darker color than the rest of its body or cephalothorax. The violin shape is not clearly defined, so it may not look exactly like the musical instrument to you.
- Many spiders have a similar spot on their backs, so this characteristic is not significant enough to identify a spider as a fiddler spider.
- Again, look closely at the color of the violin shape. If it has dots of other colors in it, then it is not a violin spider.
Step 3. Count the eyes
The fiddler spider, unlike other spiders, has only six eyes. They are in pairs upside down: one pair is in the middle, and there is one pair on each side. Because the eyes are very small, it can be difficult to see them without a magnifying glass. If you see eight eyes, it's not a violin spider.
Step 4. Look for small hairs
The fiddler spider has many fine, short hairs on its body. Unlike some other spiders, this spider has no thorns on its body or legs. If you see a spider with thorns, it is certainly not a violin spider.
Step 5. Check the width of the body
The violin spider's body does not grow more than 1.25 cm. If you look at a spider that is larger, it is a different kind of spider.
Part 2 of 3: Knowing the habitat of the fiddler spider
Step 1. Know which areas the fiddler spider lives in
The fiddler spider is found in the midwestern, southeastern and southwestern United States of America. If you don't live in those areas or are on vacation, it is very unlikely that you will encounter a fiddler spider, although it is possible.
Step 2. Know where fiddle spiders like to hang out
As the American name implies, brown recluse spiders like to make their webs in quiet places, where they are inconspicuous. Violin spiders usually weave their webs in dry patches that have not been disturbed recently. Here are some places you might encounter them:
- Rotting tree bark
- Farmers sanding
- chests of drawers
- Cardboard boxes
- Behind paintings
- In unused beds
Step 3. Look for the violin spider's web
The fiddle spider's web is loosely woven and sticky, and off-white or greyish in color. You won't find a violin spider's web stretched between two trees or walls - that type of web is made by a orb web spider.
Part 3 of 3: Knowing if you've been bitten by a violin spider
Step 1. Be aware of the sensation of a bite
The bite of a fiddler spider generally does not hurt at first. This means that you should not be aware of a bite until at least 8 hours later, when the area around the bite becomes red, tender and swollen.
Step 2. Watch for other symptoms
In some cases, the bite is the worst symptom, but sensitive people and children may experience other symptoms. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms in your body:
- General ill feeling
- To sweat
Step 3. Seek medical treatment
The danger of a bite from this spider lies in severe tissue damage, and in exceptional cases it can cause a coma. If you discover that you have been bitten by a fiddler spider, go to a doctor or hospital immediately. Get medical help if a child or elder has been bitten; the bite of a fiddler spider is most dangerous for these age groups and can cause very serious symptoms. While you are waiting for medical assistance, you can immediately start performing these first aid actions:
- Wash the bite with soap and water
- Place an ice pack on the bite for ten minutes, then take it off for ten minutes.
- Repeat this until you are in the hospital or with a doctor.
- Violin spiders usually enter your home through vents, cracks under doors, and cracks and holes in walls. Seal these openings to prevent them from entering and vacuum or sweep up dead insects regularly to remove attractive food sources.
- Shake out seasonal clothes you have put away, shoes or other things stored in a dark place before doing anything with them or wearing them.
- You rarely see a fiddler spider when it's light.
- Violin spiders can live for 2 to 4 years and are eaten by geckos, crickets, centipedes, and wolf spiders.
- If you live in an area or vacation where fiddler spiders are common, it's a good idea to shake out your bedding before going to bed. Also check your shoes and slippers before putting them on; chances are the violin spider will crawl into it during the night.
- This spider cannot bite through clothing, so wear heavy-duty gloves and long-sleeved clothing when you go through or unpack plastic bags, boxes, and other materials.
- The violin spider is not an aggressive spider; this spider is only prone to attack if it gets caught against your skin – something that usually happens when you turn over in bed or put on clothes.