Is This a Brown Recluse Spider Bite?

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Netlore Archive: Viral images purport to show the progressive deterioration of a necrotic wound caused by the bite of a brown recluse spider. Viral image

Description: Viral images & text
Circulating since: 2004 / Earlier
Status: Unconfirmed

Text example:
Email contributed by L.M. More, July 6, 2004:

Brown Recluse Spider Bite:

Take a look at the email below and the attached pictures of a guy who was bit by a Brown Recluse spider. Some of the pictures towards the end are pretty nasty, but do take a look at the last one -- it is a picture of the spider itself. Now we all should know what to look out for.

I thought this would be a good thing to send around to people as it is summertime and people are going to be digging around doing yard work, etc.

The following illustrates the progression of a brown recluse spider bite.

Just as a warning, day 3-6 photos are not too graphic. However, day 9 and 10 are very graphic. Your discretion is advised if you choose to view.

The final picture is the most important as it contains a picture of the actual spider. Please be careful, spider bites are dangerous and can have permanent and highly negative consequences.

FYI - They like the darkness and tend to live in storage sheds or attics or other areas that might not be frequented by people or light. If you have a need to be in your attic, go up there and turn on a light and leave it on for about 30 minutes before you go in to do your work.

Warning: The following pages contain graphic medical images some readers may find disturbing.

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite #2

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Day 2
Day two: The wound is inflamed. Infection appears to be spreading. Viral image

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite #3

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Day 3
Day three: Infection continues to spread. The wound looks more painful. Viral image

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite #4

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Day 4
Day four: The wound is swollen and purple. Viral image

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite #5

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Day 5
Day five: Open wound. Tissues are deteriorating. Viral image

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite #6

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Day 6
Day six: Close-up of deteriorating wound. Viral image

Fwd: Brown Recluse Spider Bite #7

Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider. Viral image


Regrettably, the ad hoc captions accompanying these viral images over time haven't included enough information to determine whether the wound depicted in them was caused by the bite of a brown recluse ("fiddleback") spider or something else.

The origin of the images, which have been circulating online, uncredited, since 2004 (perhaps even earlier), remains unknown.

The brown recluse spider is venomous and its bite can be quite painful, though the danger of a brown recluse spider bite is often overstated.

In the photos, the wound itself looks real enough regardless of what may have caused it, and the lesions do resemble necrotic ulcers symptomatic of brown recluse spider bites. But they're also symptomatic of gangrene and necrotizing fasciitis, both of which can result from serious spider bites but have other known causes as well, and are easily mistaken for bite wounds. Experts say misdiagnoses of the causes of necrotic ulcers are quite common.

Doctors say the majority of brown recluse bites are "uneventful," unlike the example in the photos, and rarely progress to such a serious stage.

Helpful info:
5 Lies About the Brown Recluse Spider
• How to Tell If You Were Bitten by a Brown Recluse

More outrageous animal tales:
Hoax Quiz: Can YOU Spot the Fakes???
Image Gallery: Crazy Critters!
Photo Fakery: Animals & Insects

Sources and further reading:

Brown Recluse Bite Symptoms
University of Nebraska Dept. of Entomology

Brown Recluse Spider
A.D.A.M. Healthcare Encyclopedia

Brown Recluse Spider Bite on the Hand (Image)
A.D.A.M. Healthcare Center

Venomous Spiders
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 February 2012

Convenient Culprit: Myths Surround Brown Recluse Spider
American Medical News, 5 August 2002

Myth of the Brown Recluse
By Rick Vetter, U.C. Riverside Dept. of Entomology