Brown Recluse Spider

Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate

One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes.

When provoked, the spider, commonly known as the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), injects powerful venom that can kill the tissues at the site of the bite. This can lead to a painful deep sore and occasional scarring.

But the wounds are not always easy to diagnose. Medical practitioners can confuse the bite with other serious conditions, including Lyme disease and various cancers. The distribution of the spider is poorly understood as well, and medical professionals routinely diagnose brown recluse bites outside of the areas where it is known to exist.

Brown recluse spider. (Credit: iStockphoto/William Howe)

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