Are There Brown Recluse Spiders In California

Table of Contents

What Are Recluses Like?

Are There Brown Recluse Spiders In California? Recluse spiders are not inherently violent, as their names imply. Only when they are pressed against human flesh, such as when a recluse is living in a garment, do they bite.

Recluse spiders are mostly quiet and difficult to find. Bites happen most often when a person touchs around in an unseen location or donates an old piece of clothing that the spider had been hiding in.

The deserts recluse and the Chilean recluse are both solid brown or tan in color.


The brown recluse has a uniformly colored belly that is about 3/8 of an inch long.
Depending on diet, they range from cream to dark brown. The cephalothorax has a dark brown violin shape.
The legs are attached to this part of the body.

The violin’s neck is positioned toward the belly. The six-eye pattern, which includes two pairs of eyes separated by a gap, is the most important identifying characteristic to examine. Eight eyes are found in two rows of four on most spiders. The legs are devoid of spines, and instead have tiny hairs.

Difference Between a Brown Recluse and a Desert Recluse

Brown recluse spiders are not indigenous to California, contrary to popular belief. In California, there are a few recluse spiders. A desert recluse spider (Loxosceles deserta) is most likely the species found in California’s deserts.

The desert recluse, found in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, is the most common Californian recluse spider. Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico are all home to the desert recluse. Desert recluses are known to have necrotic venom, just like brown recluses.


Desert recluse spiders are frequently confused with brown recluse spiders due to their aesthetic similarities. In contrast to the eight eyes found on most other spider species, desert recluse spiders have only six eyes.

These eyes are divided into three pairs, known as dyads, much like the brown recluse. The color of desert recluses ranges from sandy to tan, with a light brown abdomen. The body of the desert recluse has the typical brown recluse fiddle form as well.

The Persistent Myth of the California Brown Recluse


Desert dwellers start to emerge from their long summer slumber and get some work done as the Southern California interior warms with aching sluggishness and temperatures threaten to drop into the 90s.

That may mean plunging your arms up to the elbow in dried weeds, wind-blown debris, and dead garden plants for homeowners, gardeners, and anybody else tasked with tidying up the brown and withered late summer landscape.

And it’s also about this time that we hear cautionary stories about the Brown Recluse spiders that lurk in the tall dry grass and of the tale-teller’s friend (or cousin or past co-worker) with a scar on his arm.

Learning that the Brown Recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, does not actually live in California, however, may ruin your enjoyment of those stories.

They’re also timid, and the majority of the bites they ultimately choose to deliver go virtually unnoticed by human victims, even when they are living in close proximity to them.

Something else is responsible for nearly all of Brown Recluses’ nasty sores. Brown Recluses in California aren’t a threat to us.

The debunkers claim at least that’s the case. The “Brown Recluse in California” situation is somewhat more complicated than those baldly stated facts might lead you to believe, even if those debunkers are correct.

The problem is that there isn’t one. In California, Brown Recluse spiders are uncommon and don’t exist. During the history of California, maybe six specimens of Loxosceles reclusa have been verified.

As a strictly statistical matter, it’s more likely you’ll run into a sitting California Governor for an affair than you’ll come across a Brown Recluse in the Golden State.

Recluses prefer to stay stationary. Several spiders may travel long distances on the wind by extending a silk thread sufficiently to catch a breeze.

While it’s more like flying a kite than a balloon, the arachnologists refer to this technique of movement as “ballooning.” It’s an successful — if somewhat aimless — method for spider species to expand their range, no matter what the terminology is. And recluses are beyond human capacity.

Brown Recluses appear to favor cardboard, so they’ll only get to California through an accidental hitchhike in a Midwesterner’s moving truck.

As a result, there are no Brown Recluses in California. You may release your breath at this point.


Loxosceles deserta, the Desert Recluse, which resides mostly where you’d anticipate from the name and extends northward into the San Joaquin Valley, and Loxosceles laeta, the Chilean Recluse, are two other recluse spider species that call California home.

No populations have ever been found in the state, but a few members of the species Loxosceles rufescens, commonly known as the Mediterranean Recluse, will appear on loading cargo ships every once in a while.

The exciting part: recluse spiders of other colors range from pale buff to tan to manila to a deep, dark coffee with leche, and they range in color. The Brown Recluse spider is properly named Loxosceles reclusa. Brown Recluse spiders aren’t the only species. They’re just brown recluse spiders, that’s all.


Yep, like you, I’m confused by it as well.

When this topic comes up, what we have here is yet another example of scientists and non-scientists using the same words to mean completely different things.

It’s a similar phenomena as scientist Theodosius Dobzhanski put it, “only a theory,” which is what we see in those depressing creationist arguments where evolution, the most established truth in the life sciences, is described as “only a hypothesis.”

To the scientist, “theory” is similar to a fact in the sense that it’s a conceptual framework on which you hang facts, allowing them to suddenly make sense as a whole.

The word “theory” means “crazy and unsupported assumption” to the average person. Yet, it has two separate meanings, both of which are used correctly in context. In the strictest sense, Brown Recluses versus non-Brown Recluses are similar.

There are also recluses among them. One thing is stated by the scientists, whereas the opposite is stated by non-scientists; nonetheless, they use the identical precise words. A scientist’s job consists of dealing with such complications.

More About Brown Recluse Spiders in California

Many hands would be raised if you asked an audience of more than a few people in California if they had ever seen or been bitten by a brown recluse spider. The brown recluse spider has never bred in California, which is astonishing!

The following are some of the people who have created and maintained the brown recluse myth:

-Many skin lesions of non-spider origin are misdiagnosed by a non-existent spider, which is referred to as a physician mistake.
-Without evidence of spider involvement, some online articles about severe bite injuries are published.
-The general public, as well as “authorities,” who lack adequate spider identification skills, misidentify harmless brown spiders as brown recluses.


Even in places like Alaska and Canada, which are not native to where the spider is found, Brown recluse mythology is widespread throughout North America. Since no recluse spiders have ever been discovered in anyplace, it is easy to dispute this misconception.

While the state’s south eastern deserts are home to different indigenous species, such as the desert recluse spider (which is not a brown recluse), this argument is less convincing.

There have also been isolated populations of the Chilean recluse spider in urban Los Angeles County. The Chilean recluse, on the other hand, has only been discovered in commercial structures, never in homes, where there are few people.

Since its discovery in Los Angeles in the late 1930s, there have been no verified bites by this non-native Chilean recluse.

In California, there have been a few instances of brown recluse spiders being discovered as hitchhikers in moving boxes from other parts of the country.


While there are a few recluse spiders in select regions of California, the hundreds (and maybe thousands) of brown recluse bite mistaken diagnoses recorded each year in California do not correlate.

Such misdiagnoses are compared to those found in a research. In California, more than 95% of the reported brown recluse bite cases happened in metropolitan regions where recluse spiders are not known to live.

The medical profession has long assumed that several skin lesions were caused by brown recluse spider envenomation for many decades throughout North America.

Much of this research, however, has shown that spiders are not associated with the majority of these lesions. Some medical disorders are much more serious than recluse bite.

The real causal condition may not respond to recluse bite treatment, allowing the true condition to worsen and maybe culminating in death, which is one genuine risk of such a recluse bite misdiagnosis.

Cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, Lyme disease, bacterial infections, anthrax, side effects from blood thinners, poison ivy and poison oak are just a few of the afflictions that have been misdiagnosed as recluse bites.

Bacterial infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are one of the most common conditions misdiagnosed as spider bites.

Are There Brown Recluse Spiders In Southern California?



Residents in Southern California don’t have to worry about the brown recluse spider, contrary to all the hysteria surrounding them and their dangers to people.

No part of Southern California is home to brown recluse spiders, which include:

-Palm Springs
-Coachella Valley
-San Diego
-Orange County
-San Marcos
-Los Angeles

What a great opportunity for a big exhale of relaxation! It’s still not time to exhale. We do have a few spiders crawling around us that may be harmful to our well-being, notwithstanding the fact that there are no brown recluse spiders close by.

The spider you are seeing in the warmer parts of SoCal isn’t a brown recluse, but rather, it’s most likely a desert recluse, which is very similar to the demonized brown recluse, and we want to settle the argument once and for all with Lloyd.

Southern California also has brown widows and black widows spiders, which bite humans infrequently when handled roughly or provoked. There hasn’t been a single bite among our field workers who deal with them much more than the average person would, despite the fact that they’re quite common.

We have a number of other spiders that should be on our radar while we’re in our yards, around our homes, or out and about, even if we’re free from the dangers of the brown recluse.

Our pest control experts have put together this guide on all things dangerous spiders in Southern California to help you identify the exact species of spiders you might encounter.

What does a brown recluse spider bite look like?

When a brown recluse spider bite occurs, the victim may not feel or notice it. The bite site first appears to be a tiny red, itchy, and inflamed area, similar to any other insect bite. Severe symptoms may develop over the course of a few days if the venom destroys surrounding tissues, and a blister develops.

The injury might expand, get more severe, and turn blacker as time goes on. When the tissue forms an ulcer, turns black in color, and forms a crust that subsequently flops off, it is diagnosed as necrosis or tissue death. Venoms may reach the fat and muscles when they penetrate deeper into the tissues.

An infection might quickly and simply develop in the wound, prolonging the healing process. The infection and venom may spread to the rest of the body, becoming life-threatening.

Even after the brown recluse spider bite has healed completely, it often leaves a crater-like scar. A brown recluse bite sufferer might experience fever, chills, and nausea in addition to the wound.

Unless the victim felt the bite and saw and correctly identified the perpetrator, it is very difficult to diagnose a brown recluse bite.

Bacterial, viral, or fungal illnesses; other insect bites; and medical illnesses that degrade blood flow are just a few examples of conditions that may mimic the bite of a brown recluse spider. Based on a thorough history acquired from the patient, an educated guess may frequently be made.