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Brown recluse in Michigan?

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by Kagmi, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Kagmi

    Kagmi Arachnopeon

    Hello again everyone,

    A friend and I live in Michigan, near the Michigan/Ohio border, and my friend believes that two spiders she's killed in her apartment over the past few weeks were brown recluse. She's new to the apartment so we don't yet know what its particular flora and fauna are, and it's making her quite nervous about the spiders. Now I've caught quite a few spiders in our local area and I've never seen a recluse. I'm also finding mixed opinions online about how far north they actually range; some websites seem to be of the opinion that Michigan is simply too cold for them, but others claim brown recluses have been reported in the state.

    My question is this: does anybody out there know if brown recluse spiders actually do inhabit the southern Michigan/northern Ohio area? I'd kind of like to be sure before I tell my friend the spiders in her apartment are most likely fairly harmless yellow sacs, which I myself have very nearly mistaken for recluses on occasion, but I haven't seen her spiders myself to be sure.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  2. pitbulllady

    pitbulllady Arachnoking Old Timer

    Michigan is pretty far out of the range of L. reclusa! Having seen first-hand how so many spiders are mistaken for "Brown Recluses", the spiders in question could be many different species, and probably are. Without a photo, or at least a very good description beyond "brown spider", there's no way to even take a guess.

  3. John Apple

    John Apple Just a guy Old Timer

    The definative answer is no...they are not here...totally out of the 'natural' range. Now that being said , who is 'really' to know if they are here or not. I have been living in Michigan most of my natural life and have yet to see one. I have yet to see a dead one brought to me. Most likely what she is seeing are yellow sac spiders cheircanthum sp.
    To be honest with you personally everytime I hunt verts I look for loxoceles and not even a hint of them.
    There is the possibility for them to survive in this cold climate...ya know microhabitats and such...the dreaded Michigan basement comes to mind:D
  4. Skullptor

    Skullptor Arachnobaron

    The only thing I can think of is that they live close to humans and it is plausible to transport them via moving state to state. Their range has been expanding. But your talking Loto odds for this to have happened with more than one specimen and for her to find them.
  5. Kagmi

    Kagmi Arachnopeon

    Great! Thanks all for the confirmation! I was figuring they were probably yellow sacs, but I wanted to be sure since there are all sorts of crazy rumors running around the Internet. I've seen some yellow sacs in my own home that look a lot like recluses as they mature, so that's most likely it. I'll let my friend know she can rest a little easier about her spider populations!
  6. Venom

    Venom Arachnoprince Old Timer

    The answer is yes, and no.

    No, Loxosceles reclusa does not normally inhabit Michigan, since its normal range ends in the southern fringe of Ohio. A few may be found in isolated, urban ( and therefore, artificially heated ) environments.

    That said, there is believed to be a population of L. rufescens in southern Michigan. I have read reports of Loxosceles in the area you describe, but one recent study concluded that they were not L. reclusa, but L. rufescens.

    From a Q&A page at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Division of Insects:

    Found at: http://www.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/insects/resources/bug-faq.html

    These are believed to be present, in scattered populations in such areas as Flint, Lansing, and other larger cities in the southern tier of the state of Michigan. While the VAST majority of "I think I found a recluse spider" reports are usually false ID's, there IS a chance of L. rufescens being encountered in southern michigan, mostly in urban environments. Most people don't know what a real recluse looks like, however, so the fact that she thinks it is one probably means it isn't.:rolleyes:

    The good news? L. rufescens is less toxic than L. reclusa. There are virtually zero L. reclusa in Michigan, and your chances of running into the few L. rufescens are very, very slight.