Mediterranean Recluse

Loxosceles rufescens

Loxosceles rufescens, commonly known as the Mediterranean recluse spider, is part of the Loxosceles genus, which includes several species of recluse spiders. These spiders are known for their distinctive violin-shaped marking on the cephalothorax and their ability to live in close proximity to humans. Loxosceles rufescens is a relatively small spider, with a body length typically not exceeding 10-15 mm. It has six eyes arranged in three pairs, which is unusual among spiders, and a violin-shaped marking that points towards the abdomen.






















Loxosceles rufescens

Other Information


This species is venomous, producing a cytotoxic venom that can cause necrotic lesions in humans known as loxoscelism. The severity of the reaction to a bite can vary greatly, from minor effects to more significant medical conditions requiring medical attention.

A Danger to Humans?

While Loxosceles rufescens can pose a danger to humans due to its venom, it is important to note that this spider is not aggressive and bites usually occur when the spider is pressed against human skin accidentally. The likelihood of severe complications from a bite is low, but caution is advised when dealing with or living in areas known to be inhabited by recluse spiders.

Population Status

Specific data on the population size of Loxosceles rufescens is not widely available, but the species is known to be adaptable and can establish populations in both natural and urban environments where conditions are suitable.

Mediterranean Recluse (Loxosceles rufescens), Photo by David Lowenthal

Life Span:
Recluse spiders, including Loxosceles rufescens, can live for several years, with some reports suggesting a lifespan of up to 5 years or more under ideal conditions.

Weight and Length:
These spiders are small, with body lengths typically ranging from 6 to 15 mm, and they have long, thin legs. Specific weight data is not commonly noted due to their small size.

Loxosceles rufescens is originally native to the Mediterranean region but has been introduced to other areas around the world, including parts of the Americas and Asia. It prefers warm climates and can often be found living in close proximity to humans, in homes, and other structures.

Mediterranean Recluse (Loxosceles rufescens), Photo by David Lowenthal

Habits and Lifestyle:
The Mediterranean recluse spider is nocturnal and tends to hide during the day in dark, secluded places. It does not typically build webs to catch prey in the open but may use silk retreats as a base from which to hunt at night.

Diet and Nutrition:
Its diet consists primarily of small insects and possibly other arthropods. These spiders rely on stealth and their venom to subdue prey rather than capturing it in webs.

Mating Habits:
Little is widely documented about the specific mating habits of Loxosceles rufescens, but like many spiders, it likely involves a careful approach by the male to avoid being mistaken as prey by the female. Mating typically results in the female laying eggs, which she may guard until they hatch.