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Loxosceles rufescens

Fact Box
Loxosceles rufescens (Waldock)
Body length:
female: 6-10 mm
male: 6-10 mm
Often found in houses
May be harmful (see below)
Loxosceles rufescens

This species and other members of the Sicariidae are known by the common name of fiddleback spiders because of the presence of a dark mark on the head region of the cephalothorax which resembles a violin pointing backwards towards the abdomen. One American species (Loxosceles reclusa) is also called a 'recluse' spider, a name which is also appropriate because this spider often hides in crevices within houses and other buildings.

As summarized by Julianne Waldock (Western Australian Museum) in 2015 Loxosceles species are not native to Australia but have been unintentionally carried here, presumably on furniture, shipping containers, or other large objects. While a small number of Loxosceles laeta specimens were collected in Sydney the only locality in which Loxosceles species are at all likely to be found is Adelaide, where the species present is Loxosceles rufescens. This species is believed to have come from the Mediterranean region, where it is more often found.

Unlike the Australian white-tailed spider Lampona murina and its related species, which are no longer accepted as being capable of causing necrotic skin ulcers, Loxosceles species definitely can induce severe skin ulceration. This is especially true for the main American species, Loxosceles reclusa and Loxosceles laeta, but fortunately seems likely to be less true for Loxosceles rufescens, although anyone finding a specimen of this last species is still advised to handle it with caution.

Known Range: Only known in the Adelaide area.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Only other Loxosceles species.

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Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 15 January 2022.