Hobo spiders and Brown recluse spiders: What's the difference?

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Hobo spiders and brown recluse spiders are sometimes confused with each other. Here are some key ways to tell the difference between the two arachnids.

Hobo Spider

Brown Recluse Spider

Hobo spider.

Brown recluse spider.

Hobo spider geography: In North America, the hobo spider lives in the Pacific Northwest, from British Columbia east to Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, and south through Oregon and northern Utah.

Brown recluse spider geography: Brown recluse spiders are found in the South Central and Midwestern U.S.

Hobo spider origin: Hobo spiders are an invasive species from Europe.

Brown recluse spider origin: Brown recluse spiders are native to the U.S.

Hobo spider appearance: Hobo spiders have a brown body and brownish-yellow markings on the abdomen.

Brown recluse spider appearance: Brown recluse spiders are mostly brown, with a darker brown violin-shaped mark on the back.

Hobo spider venom: According to the CDC, hobo spider venom is not considered toxic to humans. 

Brown recluse spider venom: The CDC reports that the venom of a brown recluse spider can cause a severe lesion by destroying skin tissue (skin necrosis).

Hobo spider size: Hobo spiders are around the size of a nickel. They have shorter legs than other types of spiders.

Brown recluse spider size: Adult brown recluse spiders (with legs extended) are about the size of a U.S. quarter.

Hobo spider prey: Hobo spiders build funnel-shaped webs to catch their prey. They lie in wait at the end of the funnel for prey insects to enter the web.

Brown recluse spider prey: Brown recluse spiders hunt their prey rather than catch them in a web.

Hobo spider visibility: Because male hobo spiders wander indoors to find mates, they are more likely to come into contact with humans.

Brown recluse spider visibility: As the name suggests, brown recluse spiders typically retreat to dark, secluded areas during the daytime.

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