How to identify brown speckled spiders

If you find a brown speckled spider in North America it may be one of several species. It is important to identify these spiders as some species, such as the brown recluse spider found in the southeast of the United States, are poisonous. This spider's bite can cause an ulcer which, in some cases, must be treated surgically. Whether you're identifying a brown recluse spider or any kind of spider, a few simple step should help you.

Identifying spiders

Examine the spider while keeping a safe distance. Note the shade of brown and the size of the spider. Also note where you've seen the spider, as habitat is a good way of identifying spiders.

Take a picture of the spider if you have a camera. Try to use a camera with a good zoom function.

Watch for long speckled legs and a dark brown speckled body. This may be the brown recluse spider. Other identifying characteristics include three sets of eyes and an overall body length of 1/4 inch to 3/4 of an inch. Most spiders have four pairs of eyes.

Check for a fuzzy speckled body with dark brown upper legs. This may be a garden orb weaver, a common brown spider. It can also be identified by its humped back and complex, brown webs.

Look for a long slender body with a dark brown colouration. This may be a fishing spider. Fishing spiders can also be identified by their striped legs and can often be found near water.

Check a website such as Spiderz Rule if you continue to have difficulty identifying the spider.

Visit the insect and arachnid section of your local natural museum. Try to find a sample that matches the spider you spotted.

Join an online or offline arachnid society. Clubs such as the Invicta Arachnid Club are places where spider enthusiasts can gather. Try posting a picture of the brown speckled spider to see if a member can help you identify it.


Brown recluse spiders are uncommon and bites are rare, but it's best to avoid handling any spider matching a brown recluse's description.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
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About the Author

James Stuart began his professional writing career in 2010. He traveled through Asia, Europe, and North America, and has recently returned from Japan, where he worked as a freelance editor for several English language publications. He looks forward to using his travel experience in his writing. Stuart holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Toronto.