How to identify brown speckled spiders

Written by james stuart
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How to identify brown speckled spiders
A brown speckled spider in the US can be one of many species. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

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.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Camera

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    Identifying spiders

  1. 1

    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.

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    Keep a safe distance when examining the spider (Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
  2. 2

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

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    Take a picture of the spider (NA/ Images)
  3. 3

    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.

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    Look for distinguishing features on the spider (Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    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.

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    Certain features can identify a spider (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    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.

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    A slender body can identify it as a fishing spider (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  6. 6

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

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    Check online to help identify the spider (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  7. 7

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

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    The natural museum may have samples and specimens for comparison (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)
  8. 8

    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.

    How to identify brown speckled spiders
    Join an online arachnid society and enthusiasts may help with identification (Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

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

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