The Brown Recluse spider has spread fear across the nation after a 21-year-old student of Texas Christian University, Nikki Perez, was reportedly bitten by one and she almost lost her sight and an ear.
Experts are now considering naming it the most dangerous species among spiders, perhaps even more dangerous than the widely known Black Widow.
The Brown Recluse spider, found in warm arid climates, is not only dangerous for its venom, but also because of the way it affects and damages the human body.
Also known as violin spider or Loxosceles recluse, it is known to be rarely aggressive and bites only when pressed against the skin, which means the arachnid will bite only when it is threatened or accidentally touched.
The symptoms of an attack could include nausea, vomiting, fever, muscle soreness and joint pain and a single bite can cause necrosis, blindness, paralysis and even death, reports The Global Christian Post.
However, organ damage and death are considered rare events and could happen to people with really low immunity, like in the case of children or the elderly.
So what exactly happens when a person gets bitten?
The spider bears potentially deadly hemotoxic venom and its bite can cause necrosis, which means that the soft tissue surrounding the attack site gets destroyed and leaves its victims with deep scars.
The bite is also known to cause skin necrosis in some cases. Necrosis is the premature rotting and death of cells in the living tissue caused by infection and toxins that enter the body. Necrosis is considered serious because the dead cells fail to send any chemical signals to the immune system, thus preventing the healing process and generation of new cells.
Consequently, the dead cells continue to build-up around the infected area and it is usually only treatable through surgery, reports globalchristianpost.com.
How can you identify a Brown Recluse Spider?
According to the Web Site brownreclusespider.org, the spider could easily hide inside homes, particularly dark and small areas.
The spider is generally small and its size varies from 7 to 12mm (1/4 - 1/2').
As its name suggests, it is brown in color. Its body has a peculiar dark brown violin-shaped spot on the dorsal side of its cephalothorax.
The legs of the spider are again light brown in color and thin and the abdomen, which is oval-shaped, could be dark brown, yellow or greenish yellow in color.
The most important identification is the presence of three pairs of eyes in the spider that is easily visible.