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Is This the Bite of a Recluse or Hobo?


Could a patient who lives in Canada have a bite from a brown recluse spider?

I noticed that the physician who contributed the Photoclinic case of a woman with a brown recluse spider bite (CONSULTANT, August 2005, page 1038) lives in Edmonton, Alberta. This is

far outside the range of the brown recluse spider. Everything else I have read about brown recluse spiders, including work by entomologists, stresses that they live only in the south central United States, since they cannot survive the cold further north. I wonder whether the patient might have been bitten instead by a hobo spider, also known as "aggressive house spider" (Tegenaria agrestis). This spider is found in the northwestern United States and Canada and produces a bite almost indistinguishable from that of the brown recluse.

- David M. Jones, PA-C

Mr Jones makes an important point; in fact, we have yet to report a true brown recluse spider bite that occurred in Canada. This patient had been visiting family in Arkansas at the time of the bite.

-Benjamin Barankin, MD
 Edmonton, Alberta

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