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J Med Entomol. 2004 Jul;41(4):593-7.

Reports of envenomation by brown recluse spiders (Araneae: Sicariidae) outnumber verifications of Loxosceles spiders in Florida.

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Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Bites attributed to the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch & Mulaik, are frequently reported by medical personnel throughout Florida, whereas the extensive arachnological evidence contradicts the alleged widespread occurrence of Loxosceles spiders in the state. We compared reports of brown recluse spider bites made by medical personnel from a 6-yr Florida poison control center database to the known verifications of Loxosceles spiders from 100 yr of Florida arachnological data. Medical personnel diagnosed 124 brown recluse spider bites from 31 of Florida's 67 counties in 6 yr. In contrast, only 11 finds of approximately 70 Loxosceles spiders have been made in 10 Florida counties in 100 yr. Florida does not have sufficient widespread populations of Loxosceles spiders to warrant consideration of brown recluse spider envenomation as a probable etiology of dermonecrosis. Florida health care would improve if medical personnel would consider the multitude of other etiologies that manifest in dermonecrosis.

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