Meet the Animals

The Enigmatic Brown Spinners: Uncovering New Mexico’s Spider Species

Introduction to Brown Spiders in New Mexico

Have you ever come across a brown spider in New Mexico and wondered what species it belongs to? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we will take a closer look at the distribution and characteristics of brown spiders in New Mexico.

Whether you have a general curiosity about spiders or want to learn more for personal safety reasons, this article will provide you with the information you need. So, let’s dive right in!

Spider Species Distribution in New Mexico

When it comes to spiders, New Mexico is home to a diverse range of species. From tiny jumping spiders to larger orb-weavers, the state boasts an impressive spider population.

However, in this article, we will focus specifically on brown spiders and their distribution within the state. 1.

Brown Spider Species

– The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is one of the most notorious brown spiders found in New Mexico. Known for their violin-shaped markings on their cephalothorax, these spiders are known to have a venomous bite that can cause tissue necrosis in rare cases.

– Another brown spider species found in the state is the desert recluse spider (Loxosceles deserta). Similar in appearance to the brown recluse, these spiders are also venomous but are less commonly encountered.

2. Distribution in New Mexico

– Brown recluse spiders are typically found in the southern and eastern parts of the state.

They prefer dark, undisturbed areas such as closets, attics, and basements. – Desert recluse spiders, as their name suggests, are more commonly found in the desert areas of New Mexico.

They often inhabit outdoor structures like sheds, woodpiles, and rocks.

Identifying Brown Spiders in New Mexico

Now that we know which species of brown spiders are present in New Mexico, let’s discuss how to identify them. 1.

Physical Characteristics

– Both brown recluse and desert recluse spiders have a light to medium brown coloration, with some variations in shades. – The most distinctive feature of these spiders is the violin-shaped mark on their cephalothorax (the area where the head and thorax are fused).

2. Behavioral Traits

– Brown recluse spiders are typically nocturnal and build irregular, messy webs in hidden areas.

– Desert recluse spiders are also nocturnal and are known to wander indoors during cooler seasons.

Safety Tips for Dealing with Brown Spiders

While most spider bites are harmless, it’s important to exercise caution when dealing with potentially venomous spiders like the brown recluse and desert recluse. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:



– Keep your living spaces clean and clutter-free to minimize hiding spots for spiders. – Seal any cracks or gaps in windows, doors, and walls to prevent spiders from entering your home.

– Shake out clothing, shoes, and bedding before use, especially if they have been stored for a while. 2.

If You Encounter a Brown Spider

– Do not handle or try to catch brown recluse or desert recluse spiders. – If you find one in your home, use a vacuum cleaner to safely remove it and dispose of the bag or contents.

– If you are bitten by a brown spider and experience severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or swelling, seek medical attention immediately.


In conclusion, brown spiders in New Mexico encompass species such as the brown recluse and desert recluse spiders. These spiders have specific distributions within the state and possess distinct physical and behavioral characteristics.

By familiarizing yourself with these spiders, you can take appropriate precautions to ensure your safety. Remember, prevention is key, and if you are bitten by a brown spider and experience severe symptoms, seek medical help promptly.

Stay informed and stay safe!

Spiders Being Transported by Humans

Spiders, with their ability to spin silk and weave intricate webs, have evolved to be incredibly skilled travelers. While they primarily move around through natural means such as crawling or ballooning, they are also inadvertently transported by humans.

In this section, we will explore how spiders make their way into our lives through various modes of transportation, including luggage, cars, and other items. 1.


One of the most common ways spiders hitch a ride with us is through luggage. When we travel to different locations, we often pack our clothes, toiletries, and other personal items into suitcases.

And unfortunately, spiders can find their way into these bags, seeking refuge or simply being accidentally caught up in the contents. In tropical or outdoor settings, spiders may crawl into open suitcases left on the ground.

They may also sneak into luggage stored in dark corners or crevices of a room. It’s essential to be cautious before packing your bags and ensure there are no unwanted arachnid stowaways.

2. Cars

Another mode of spider transportation is through vehicles.

Spiders can crawl into cars through open windows, doors, or vents. They are attracted to the warm, sheltered environment that vehicles can provide.

It’s not uncommon to find spiders in cars, especially if they have been parked in wooded or rural areas. Additionally, spiders may build webs inside cars, particularly in areas where they are less likely to be disturbed, such as under seats or in dashboard crevices.

This can be surprising and even unsettling for drivers and passengers who suddenly come face to face with these eight-legged passengers. 3.

Other Items

Spiders can also hitchhike on various other items we use day-to-day. Clothing, shoes, and backpacks left outdoors or in storage areas can become home to spiders seeking shelter.

When we put these items on or take them out for use, spiders may crawl out and surprise us. Other items that spiders may use for transport include gardening tools, firewood, and even packages or mail.

Any object that provides a small, dark space can potentially harbor a spider seeking a hiding spot or transportation to a new environment.

Preventing Spider Transportation

While it’s difficult to completely eliminate the possibility of spiders hitching a ride with us, there are certain steps we can take to minimize the chances:

1. Inspect Your Luggage

Before packing for a trip, thoroughly inspect your luggage.

Check the corners, pockets, and zippers for any signs of spiders or their webs. If you do spot a spider, remove it safely before continuing with your packing.

2. Shake Out Clothing and Shoes

Before putting on clothes or shoes that have been stored for a while, give them a good shake.

This will help dislodge any spiders or insects that may have taken up residence. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


Regularly Clean Your Car

Regularly cleaning your car, both inside and out, can discourage spiders from making it their home. Vacuum under seats, clean out debris, and check for any signs of spiderwebs.

Additionally, parking in well-lit areas and keeping windows closed when the vehicle is not in use can also help prevent spider infestations. 4.

Shake Out Outdoor Items

Before bringing outdoor items into your home, such as gardening tools, firewood, or packages, give them a thorough shake. This will help dislodge any unwanted guests, including spiders.


While spiders are remarkable creatures, their inadvertent transportation by humans is a common occurrence. Through luggage, cars, and other items, they manage to make their way into our lives and homes.

By being aware of the potential for spider transportation and taking preventive measures, such as inspecting luggage, shaking out clothing, regularly cleaning vehicles, and shaking out outdoor items, we can minimize the chances of unwanted spider encounters. Stay vigilant, and remember to handle any encounters with spiders calmly and safely.

Wolf Spider (Hogna coloradensis)

Habitat and Behavior of Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders, scientifically known as Hogna coloradensis, are a fascinating species that can be found in various habitats across New Mexico. In this section, we will explore their preferred habitats and behaviors, shedding light on their unique characteristics.

1. Habitat

Wolf spiders are versatile creatures and can be found in a wide range of habitats, from grasslands to deserts and even forests.

In New Mexico, they are commonly spotted in grassy areas, shrublands, and rocky terrain. These spiders thrive in places where they can dig burrows or find shelter in crevices, cracks, or under rocks.

Unlike other spiders that rely on webs to catch prey, wolf spiders are active hunters. They use their exceptional vision and speed to locate and pounce on their prey.

Their preferred habitats provide ample opportunities for ambushing unsuspecting insects and small invertebrates. 2.


Wolf spiders are primarily nocturnal hunters, which means they are most active during the night. During the day, they retreat to their burrows or hide in vegetation to avoid predator detection and to stay cool in hot environments.

One of the most distinctive behaviors of wolf spiders is that they do not build webs to catch their food. Instead, they rely on their keen eyesight and agility to chase and capture their prey.

With powerful legs and sharp fangs, they overpower insects and other small creatures with remarkable precision. It is worth noting that wolf spiders are not aggressive towards humans.

They typically only bite if they feel threatened or cornered, preferring to use their camouflage and retreat abilities as their defense mechanism. Therefore, it is essential to remain cautious and avoid handling them, especially if you come across one in their natural habitat.

Dangers and Symptoms of Wolf Spider Bites

While wolf spiders are generally docile and harmless to humans, their bites can still cause discomfort and, in rare cases, elicit allergic reactions. In this section, we will delve into the potential dangers of wolf spider bites and the symptoms associated with them.

1. Venom

Wolf spiders possess venom that helps them immobilize and digest their prey.

However, their venom is not potent enough to seriously harm humans. The venom primarily serves its purpose on small arthropods and insects, allowing the spider to conveniently feed on them.

While the venom is not lethal, it can cause localized reactions in humans. 2.


When a wolf spider does bite a human, the symptoms can vary depending on various factors such as an individual’s sensitivity, the amount of venom injected, and the location of the bite. Common symptoms of a wolf spider bite include:

– Redness, swelling, and pain at the bite site.

– Itching or a rash in the surrounding area. – Minor tissue damage, which is usually limited to the immediate vicinity of the bite.

It is important to note that severe allergic reactions to wolf spider bites are extremely uncommon. However, if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat after a wolf spider bite, seek medical attention immediately, as this may indicate an allergic reaction.

3. First Aid for Wolf Spider Bites

If you are bitten by a wolf spider and experience mild to moderate symptoms, there are a few steps you can take to manage the situation:

– Wash the bite area gently with soap and water.

– Apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. – Elevate the affected limb, if possible, to help minimize swelling.

If your symptoms worsen or you have an allergic reaction, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.


Wolf spiders, with their diverse habitats and unique hunting strategies, are a captivating species found throughout New Mexico. Understanding their preferences for grasslands, shrublands, and rocky terrain, as well as their nocturnal behavior, provides a glimpse into their fascinating lives.

Although wolf spider bites are generally harmless to humans, it is essential to be aware of the symptoms associated with their bites. By exercising caution and seeking medical help when necessary, we can continue to coexist peacefully with these incredible arachnids.

Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus)

Physical Characteristics of Brown Widow Spiders

The brown widow spider, scientifically known as Latrodectus geometricus, is an arachnid species that has become an increasingly common sight in New Mexico. In this section, we will explore the physical characteristics of brown widow spiders, from their distinct colors to their unique markings.

1. Coloration

As the name suggests, brown widow spiders possess a predominantly brown coloration.

However, their coloration can vary depending on their age and gender. Adult females often exhibit a dark brown or blackish hue, while younger spiders and adult males may have lighter shades of brown.

The legs of brown widow spiders are typically lighter in color, ranging from tan to light brown. 2.

Body Shape and Size

Brown widow spiders have a rounded abdomen, which sets them apart from other spider species. While their body shape is similar to that of other widow spiders, such as the black widow, their markings differ.

Additionally, the size of brown widow spiders can range from 0.11 to 0.47 inches (3 to 12 millimeters), with females usually being larger than males. 3.

Distinctive Markings

One of the key identifying features of brown widow spiders is the unique series of markings on their abdomen. These distinctive markings resemble an hourglass shape, but with a twist.

Unlike the hourglass-shaped markings of their close relative, the black widow spider, brown widows sport an orange or yellowish hourglass pattern with additional markings around it. These extra markings can include red, orange, or white spots or streaks, creating a complex and intricate pattern.

It is important to note that males and immature brown widow spiders may have less defined or absent markings. This difference in markings between the genders and age groups can make identification slightly more challenging.

4. Egg Sacs

Another characteristic feature of brown widow spiders is their egg sacs, which are distinctive in appearance.

The egg sacs of brown widows have a spiky or bumpy texture and are spherical or slightly elongated in shape. They are usually white or light cream in color and can measure around 0.31 inches (8 millimeters) in diameter.

The presence of these egg sacs can be an indicator of a brown widow spider infestation. 5.

Relationship to Black Widow Spiders

Brown widow spiders share some similarities with their more notorious relative, the black widow spider. Both species belong to the Latrodectus genus and possess venomous bites.

However, the venom of brown widow spiders is considered to be less potent than that of black widow spiders. Despite this, caution should still be exercised when dealing with brown widows, as their bites can cause discomfort and more severe symptoms in some individuals.


The physical characteristics of brown widow spiders, including their distinct colors, unique markings, size, and body shape, make them easily identifiable. Their predominately brown coloration, rounded abdomen, and intricate hourglass-like markings set them apart from other spider species.

In addition to their physical traits, the presence of spiky egg sacs indicates the potential for a brown widow spider population. Recognizing these features will enable individuals to identify brown widow spiders and exercise caution when encountering them.

As always, it is advisable to approach spiders with care and seek professional assistance if needed.

Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

Comparison with Black Widow Spiders

When it comes to venomous spiders, the brown widow spider is often compared to its notorious cousin, the black widow spider. In this section, we will explore the differences between brown widow spiders and black widow spiders, particularly in terms of venom and associated symptoms.

1. Venom

Both brown widow spiders and black widow spiders possess venom that they use to immobilize their prey.

However, there are notable differences in the potency of their venom and the effects it has on humans. Black widow spider venom contains a neurotoxin called latrotoxin, which affects the nervous system and can cause severe symptoms in humans.

The venom of the black widow is considered to be more potent than that of the brown widow. Black widow venom can affect neurotransmitters, leading to symptoms such as intense pain, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, and even respiratory difficulties in severe cases.

On the other hand, the venom of the brown widow spider is generally less potent. While it can still cause discomfort and localized pain, it typically does not produce severe systemic effects.

The severity of symptoms from a brown widow spider bite can vary depending on an individual’s sensitivity and the amount of venom injected. 2.


The symptoms of a brown widow spider bite are generally milder compared to those of a black widow spider bite. A brown widow spider bite may result in redness, localized pain, swelling, and itching at the site of the bite.

Some individuals may also experience a blister or ulceration. In contrast, a black widow spider bite can cause more intense pain and muscle cramps that can radiate from the bite site to other parts of the body.

Other possible symptoms of a black widow bite include sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, there may be difficulty breathing and elevated blood pressure.

It is important to seek medical attention promptly if you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow spider. It is worth emphasizing that both brown widow spiders and black widow spiders primarily bite in self-defense and are not typically aggressive towards humans.

Bites from both spiders are relatively rare, and the majority of individuals who are bitten experience only mild symptoms.


While brown widow spiders and black widow spiders share some similarities, including their venomous bites, there are distinct differences between the two species. The venom of the black widow spider is considered to be more potent and can cause severe symptoms, affecting the nervous system in humans.

In contrast, brown widow spider bites generally result in milder symptoms, primarily limited to the area of the bite. It is important to exercise caution and seek medical attention if necessary when dealing with spider bites, regardless of the species.

Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

Nocturnal Behavior and Preferred Habitats of Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders, scientifically known as Loxosceles reclusa, are a venomous spider species found in certain regions of the United States, including New Mexico. In this section, we will explore their nocturnal behavior and preferred habitats, shedding light on where these spiders can be found and how they behave.

1. Nocturnal Behavior

Brown recluse spiders are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active at night.

During the day, they tend to seek shelter in secluded areas to avoid predators and extreme environmental conditions. Due to their nocturnal behavior, brown recluse spiders are rarely encountered by humans unless they unintentionally disturb their hiding spots.

Their nocturnal nature serves two main purposes. Firstly, it helps them avoid the intense heat and dryness of the daytime, as they are more adapted to cooler conditions.

Secondly, it maximizes their chances of catching prey, as many insects and small invertebrates are also more active at night. 2.

Preferred Habitats

Brown recluse spiders have a preference for warm and dry environments. They are commonly found in undisturbed areas such as attics, closets, basements, and crawlspaces.

These spiders tend to gravitate towards secluded spots with limited traffic, where they can avoid disturbances and find suitable conditions to hunt and live. In their natural outdoor habitats, brown recluse spiders are often found in woodpiles, sheds, barns, and abandoned structures.

They have an affinity for dark, quiet environments, where they can construct their irregular webs and wait for unsuspecting prey. It is worth noting that brown recluse spiders are not aggressive by nature and prefer to avoid human contact.

They typically only bite in self-defense when feeling threatened, so it is important to exercise caution and respect their spaces to minimize the potential for bites.

Potential Dangers and Reactions to Brown Recluse Spider Bites

While brown recluse spiders are not aggressive, their bites can be a cause for concern. In this section, we will delve into the potential dangers and reactions associated with brown recluse spider bites.

1. Venom

Brown recluse spiders possess venom that they inject into their prey to immobilize it.

When they bite humans, the venom can cause various reactions, ranging from mild to severe. The venom predominantly contains a mixture of enzymes that can break down tissue.

2. Symptoms and Skin Damage

After a brown recluse spider bite, the symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s sensitivity, the amount of venom injected, and the location of the bite.

The initial bite itself is usually painless, and symptoms may not develop immediately. In some cases, symptoms can take several hours or even days to appear.

Common symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include local redness, swelling, and pain at the bite site. The affected area may become itchy and develop a bullseye-like appearance with a central blister surrounded by a red ring.

Over time, the skin may darken, leading to the formation of a necrotic ulcer or eschar. 3.

Reactions and Complications

While most brown recluse spider bites heal within a few weeks with proper care, more severe reactions and complications can occur. Some individuals may experience systemic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and even nausea.

In rare cases, a severe reaction known as systemic loxoscelism can occur. This condition can lead to more widespread tissue damage, hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), and even organ dysfunction.

Medical attention should be sought immediately if a brown recluse spider bite results in severe symptoms or signs of systemic loxoscelism.


Brown recluse spiders are nocturnal spiders that prefer warm and dry habitats such as attics, basements, and woodpiles. While they generally avoid human contact, their bites can cause varying degrees of local tissue damage and symptoms.

Understanding their preferred habitats and being cautious when encountering them can help minimize the risk of bites. If bitten, it is important to monitor symptoms and seek medical attention for severe reactions.

By respecting their space and taking necessary precautions, we can coexist with brown recluse spiders safely.

Texas Orb-Weaver (Araneus illaudatus)

Nighttime Habits and Web-Building Behavior of Texas Orb-Weaver Spiders

The Texas orb-weaver spider, scientifically known as Araneus illaudatus, is a fascinating spider species that can be found in various regions, including New Mexico. In this section, we will explore their nighttime habits and web-building behavior, shedding light on their unique characteristics.

1. Nocturnal Habits

Texas orb-weaver spiders are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active during the nighttime.

During the day, they generally remain hidden and inactive, seeking shelter in protected areas such as leaf litter, crevices, or under rocks. As dusk approaches, Texas orb-weavers emerge from their hiding spots and begin their nocturnal activities.

These spiders are adapted to the darker conditions of the night and have excellent night vision, which aids them in navigating their surroundings and locating potential prey. 2.

Web-Building Behavior

One of the most distinguishing features of Texas orb-weaver spiders is their elaborate web-building behavior. They construct intricate orb-shaped webs that are primarily designed to capture flying insects.

These orb-webs are characterized by a circular frame with evenly spaced radial lines and concentric circles of sticky silk. Texas orb-weavers ensure that their webs are strategically positioned in areas where insects are likely to fly through, such as near light sources or in gaps between trees.

The silk of their webs is strong and sticky, enabling them to trap unsuspecting insects that come into contact with it. 3.

Vigilance and Repairs

Texas orb-weavers are known to be highly vigilant when it comes to their webs. They monitor their webs using their sensitive leg hairs and specialized receptors, allowing them to detect vibrations caused by trapped prey or potential threats.

When an insect becomes ensnared, the spider quickly immobilizes it with a venomous bite before enjoying its meal. If their webs become damaged or destroyed due to wind, rain, or other factors, Texas orb-weavers will promptly perform repairs.

They use their spinnerets to produce new silk threads and rebuild sections of their webs, ensuring that their hunting traps remain intact and effective. 4.

Hunting Techniques

Once an insect is trapped within their web, Texas orb-weavers utilize their agile movements to approach and subdue their prey. They secure the captured insect with additional silk threads to prevent escape, then inject venom to immobilize it.

The spider will later return to feed on the prey at its leisure. It is important to note that Texas orb-weaver spiders are generally harmless to humans.

They do not possess venom strong enough to cause significant harm or produce severe reactions.


The Texas orb-weaver spider exhibits fascinating nighttime habits and web-building behavior. These spiders are primarily nocturnal, emerging from their hiding spots at dusk to construct intricate orb-shaped webs.

Equipped with excellent night vision, they skillfully navigate their surroundings and strategically position their webs to capture flying insects. Through vigilance, repairs, and hunting techniques, Texas orb-weavers ensure the efficiency of their webs as effective hunting tools.

Understanding their nocturnal habits and web-building behavior allows us to appreciate the unique nature of these spiders while respecting their role in maintaining balance within their ecosystems.

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi)

Defense Mechanisms and Venom of Texas Orb-Weaver Spiders

Texas orb-weaver spiders, like many other spider species, possess unique defense mechanisms and venom to protect themselves from potential threats. In this section, we will explore their defense mechanisms and the effects of their venom.

1. Defense Mechanisms

When threatened, Texas orb-weaver spiders employ various defense mechanisms to deter predators or perceived threats.

These mechanisms include the following:

a) Vibrations: Texas orb-weavers are sensitive to vibrations and can sense movements in their surroundings. When sensing a potential threat, they may respond by rapidly vibrating their webs, making it difficult for predators to identify and approach them.

b) Hiding Behavior: In response to a disturbance or threat, Texas orb-weavers may quickly retreat to the nearest sheltered area or fold themselves within their shelter, concealing their presence and reducing the risk of predation. c) Intimidation Displays: Some Texas orb-weaver spiders may display certain behaviors or postures to intimidate potential predators.

They might raise their front legs, displaying their fangs, or lift their abdomens, revealing their colored patterns. These displays aim to scare away predators and avoid direct confrontation.

2. Venom

While orb-weaver spiders like the Texas orb-weaver do possess venom, it is not considered medically significant to humans.

Their venom is primarily designed to immobilize their prey, which mainly consists of flying insects caught in their intricate webs. In the context of human interactions, the venom of Texas orb-weaver spiders is generally not a cause for concern.

While the venom can be mildly irritating if accidentally introduced to the skin, it does not typically result in severe reactions or health risks. Most bites from Texas orb-weavers are rare and occur when the spiders are inadvertently provoked or feel threatened.

It is important to note that individuals who may have allergies or heightened sensitivity to spider venom should exercise caution and seek medical attention if they experience an adverse reaction.

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi)

The Texas brown tarantula, scientifically known as Aphonopelma hentzi, is a large and impressive spider species found in various regions of New Mexico. In this section, we will explore the characteristics and behavior of these fascinating creatures.

1. Appearance

The Texas brown tarantula is known for its impressive size, with adult females reaching sizes of approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) in body length, excluding the legs.

They have a robust and hairy body with a dark brown or black coloration. The legs of the Texas brown tarantula are typically covered in bristles and spines.

2. Habitat

The Texas brown tarantula is native to the southwestern United States, including New Mexico.

They prefer dry and arid habitats such as grasslands, deserts, and scrublands. These tarantulas construct burrows in the soil, often utilizing abandoned rodent burrows or creating their own.

The burrows provide shelter from extreme temperatures and predators. 3.


Texas brown tarantulas are generally docile and non-aggressive. They spend most of their time in or near their burrows, emerging at night to hunt for prey.

These tarantulas are opportunistic hunters and feed on a variety of insects and other small invertebrates. They use their strong jaws and venomous fangs to capture and immobilize their prey.

When threatened, Texas brown tarantulas have a few defense mechanisms. They may raise their front legs and expose thei

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