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Poisonous Spiders in South Carolina

black spider image by Artyom Davidov from

The venomous spiders of South Carolina are nothing to fear. On the whole, they are shy creatures who prefer to remain outside of human dwellings and only bite when attacked. Rarely are spider bites deadly to humans. If you think you have been bitten by a poisonous spider, try to correctly identify the spider, and seek medical attention. In South Carolina, there are three species of spider with a venomous bite.

Northern Black Widow

Latrodectus variolus, the Northern black widow, has a bite that causes pain and swelling and is sometimes accompanied by fever, nausea, tremors or labored breathing, states Only the female is venomous. She is glossy black in color, with an incomplete hourglass (the bottom and top halves are separated) on the underside of the abdomen. The Northern black widow often has a row of red dots along the top of its abdomen and white stripes, running diagonally, down the sides of its abdomen.

Southern Black Widow

Latrodectus mactans is the Southern black widow. According to Dr. Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Entomology at Ohio Univesity, this type of poisonous spider also has a bite that causes pain and swelling and is sometimes accompanied by fever, nausea, tremors or labored breathing. As with all black widows, only the female's bite is venomous. This spider is approximately 1/2 inch in size and glossy black in color, with a bright-red hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen. It generally has a red dot on the very back end of the abdomen

Brown Recluse

Loxosceles reclusa, the brown recluse, is also called a violin or fiddleback spider. Its bite is necrotic, meaning it kills the skin and surrounding tissue. According to Dr. Jones, the effect of a brown recluse bite on a human varies from individual to individual, ranging from mild redness on the spot of the bite to a necrotic lesion. The brown recluse's bite rarely causes death in humans; although, there is danger in leaving a bite untreated, especially if it is accompanied by fever, chills or vomiting. The brown recluse is approximately 1/3 of an inch in size and brown in color, with a violin-shaped mark on top of its cephalothorax (fused thorax and head).

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