It is almost Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. One thing this means that US citizens and I’d bet some Canadians will be receiving the annual Brown Recluse Spider Warnings via Email. In order to reduce the negative effects of this email spamish meme, I hereby inoculate you. If you get the email, which usually comes with dire warnings and lots of photographs of bad things happening to people’s flesh allegedly because of a recluse spider bite, just delete it.
Look at this map and read the caption:
This map is based on data collected by arachnologists and is provided courtesy of Rick Vetter. Generally, recluses can be expected to be uncommon at the margins of this range. Rarely, they are found outside of this normal distribution in very localized areas. Such rare encounters should not be interpreted as a broadening of the species typical range or as an indication of large populations throughout the area in which the unusual sighting was recorded.
The recluse spider packs a nasty bite, but is not as common or widespread as the email you receive will suggest, and it is not as dangerous either. The Brown Recluse Spider Project has more.