Watch Out for the Chilean Recluse Spider

The bite of the Loxosceles Laeta  is potentially deadly; it dissolves tissues and causes cell death.
Watch Out for the Chilean Recluse Spider

Last update: 25 March, 2018

Also known as the “corner” spider , it is a species that tends to hide in places difficult to access, like cracks or behind furniture. The Chilean recluse spider is considered one of the most dangerous spiders, and is the most poisonous within its genus. Its bites can cause severe reactions and even cause death.

The Chilean recluse spider: habitat and characteristics

Its scientific name is Loxosceles Laeta, and it is native to South America. The spider lives mainly in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. It is also possible to see it in other places, such as the southern United States and Mexico.

It measures between 8 and 30 millimeters with its legs extended, and is coarse in texture. Females are larger than males, and unlike other spiders, this species ‘ only ‘ has six eyes. A large frontal pair and two small lateral pairs give it 300° vision.

Since it is brown, black or brownish, it can easily mimic its environment. It also has marks on the sides and upper part of its thorax that portray a kind of violin, giving it the nickname “violin spider”.

Behavior and bite of the Chilean recluse spider

Mostly nocturnal, this spider usually comes out on hot summer nights.  Although active all year, it decreases activity when it’s cold. It prefers dark, dusty and untidy places, and only leaves them to hunt.

We can detect its presence if we find exoskeletons, since this spider molts its skin three times before reaching adult size. We must also pay attention to its web: it has an irregular design, a “cottony” appearance, and is straight.

This spider gets frightened easily, and runs away as soon as it senses danger, reaching speeds of 15 km/h. Another way it defends itself against predators or attacks is by injecting poison. The poison is 15 times more toxic than a cobra’s, and 10 times more potent than a sulfuric acid burn.

In this sense, the bite of the Loxosceles Laeta is potentially deadly, dissolves tissues, and causes cell death. The bite mark, which appears four hours after a bite, is painful and very itchy.
Perform first aid on the affected person to alleviate his symptoms. Apply ice, put on a cold bandage, rest, wash with soap and water, and to go to a medical center as soon as possible.

Treatment and solutions

Treatment may include the use of antihistamines, analgesics, or corticosteroids. We recommend, if possible, that you capture the arachnid or parts of the animal so that the doctors can analyze it and know what the bite is from.
If all goes well, the bite will disappear after three days. If there are complications, the person bitten by the spider may have a fever, alterations in renal function, hemolytic anemia and acute tubular necrosis. The mortality rate is 25%.
It is worth noting that inoculation with the poison does not generate immunity in the future. If the person is bitten again, they may develop the same symptoms or even more severe ones.

Prevention against the Chilean recluse spider

Rigorous cleaning is the best way to prevent this spider from making its home in your house. This is especially true in areas that we don’t clean often. Consider: behind the tables, beds with drawers, behind heavy and large furniture, upper corners of the house, wall vines , stacks of firewood, piles of objects, etc. When cleaning these areas, always wear gloves and use a powerful vacuum cleaner.

In addition, we recommended keeping your home free of flies and other flying insects (on which the spider feeds). To get rid of them, place sticky traps around the house, and use insecticides.
You can also bring in Tiger spiders, the Chilean recluse spider’s main predators; they are harmless to human beings and can put an end to these dangerous dangerous specimens.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.