To identify a brown recluse spider from a photo, look for its signature dark violin marking on its cephalothorax, the head and chest area of the spider. The neck of the violin is pointed at the abdomen. Also, look for six eyes arranged in pairs, with one pair in the front and the other two on the sides. When looking at the abdomen, check that there are no stripes or spots; the abdomen should be uniform in color, ranging from cream to dark brown.
Brown recluse spiders have very fine hair on their legs and no spikes. Their legs, like their abdomen, are always uniform in color. Recluse spiders do not make webs out in the open, but behind objects and in dark places. They are normally messy webs found close to the ground. As they are hunters, they do not use their webs to catch prey.
The body size of a brown recluse does not get larger than 1/2 inch. Brown recluse spiders have been found in central and southern parts of the United States. They like to dwell inside homes, basements and barns. Though they tend to keep to themselves, they will bite if provoked. In rare cases, recluse bites can cause severe tissue damage.