Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Six Major Differences

Spiders, in general, are frightening creatures to come across. But the two we are discussing today are particularly fearsome. Brown Recluse Spiders and Hobo Spiders both are found abundantly in nature. 

Brown Recluse Spider is shy and reclusive and tends to stay away from humans as much as humans want to stay away from them. The Hobo Spider, on the other hand, is known for its hobby of traveling. In this article, we’ll be talking about Brown Recluse vs. Hobo Spiders and the six major differences between them.

For this comparison, we’ll look into several aspects of these creatures, including size, appearance, and preferred habitats. Here’s the comparison of Brown Recluse vs. Hobo Spider and their six significant differences.

Comparing Brown Recluse Spider vs Hobo Spider

Brown Recluse Spider vs Hobo Spider
Brown Recluse Spider vs Hobo Spider | Brown Recluse Spider is more venomous than Hobo Spider.
Characteristics Brown Recluse Spider Hobo Spider
Size 0.24 – 0.79 inches 0.27 – 0.55 inches
Location & Habitat Southern and midwestern United States

Prefers undisturbed areas in populated locales

Europe, Central Asia, and Western North America

Prefers to stay inside crevices and cracks

Appearance Body color light to medium brown, legs lacking spines and a violin pattern on the dorsal side. Body color brownish, abdomen with stripes and patterns, small eyes.
Lifespan & Reproduction 1 – 2 years

In summer, the female spider lays eggs in several egg sacs, which contain 40 – 50 eggs each.

1 year

In late summer, usually in September, female spider lays eggs in several sacs which contains 50 – 100 eggs each.

Behavior Solitary and reclusive; doesn’t bite easily, only when surprised and trapped. Solitary; very aggressive and will bite easily when surprised.
Venom Level Extremely venomous Venomous

Key Differences between Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider

Brown Recluse and Hobo Spiders are similar in their venomous nature, but there are plenty of things different between them. Their differences vary in a wide range of ways, from their behaviors to their venom levels. We’ll go over the aspect of their differences in detail in the following section. 

But before going into the differences, let’s introduce these spiders. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is a shy and reclusive spider species known for its severe venom and its medical uses

Hobo Spider (Eratigena agrestis) is also a venomous spider species that travel from one place to another. Hobo Spiders are often found near railway tracks which implies that they travel by rail. This is the reason behind their name.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the differences between Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider.

1) Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Size

Hobo Spider
Both Brown Recluse and Hobo Spider have similarly small sizes.

Brown Recluse and Hobo Spider both are small-sized spiders. An adult Brown Recluse grows to between 0.24 to 0.79 inches (6 – 20 millimeters). As adults, Hobo Spiders reach up to 0.27 – 0.55 inches (7 – 14 millimeters).

2) Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Location and Habitat

The distribution of Brown Recluse Spider ranges from the southern to the midwestern United States. The spider species are native to Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio in the midwestern states of America and the south-central and southeastern states of Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky.

Brown Recluse Spiders tend to build their shelter in closets, garages, sheds, cupboards, and places like those that are dry and secluded. They build their shelter with webs that are woven disorderly.

In nature, they prefer to reside inside the rotting barks of a tree. In inhabited human residences, they build their webs in cardboard that resembles rotting tree bark.

Hobo Spiders are more widespread around the world than Brown Recluses. Their distribution includes Europe, Central Asia, the Pacific Northwest, and the Great Basin of the western part of the North American continent. This spider species is also found in Peberholm, a small artificial island in a port in Denmark.

Unlike Brown Recluse, Hobo Spiders are not shy around humans. They often build their webs in inhabited human residences or around them. In Europe, however, Hobo Spiders are often not around humans.

This is because of the Giant House Spider (Eratigena atrica), who is known for taking shelter in human residences and is a competitor of the Hobo Spider in this regard. This causes less interaction between the Hobo Spider and humans in Europe.

3) Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Appearance

Anterior of Brown Recluse
Brown Recluse Spider has a violin-shaped pattern on its cephalothorax, while Hobo Spider has haphazard patterns on the back.

The Brown Recluse, as its name implies, is most commonly of a light brown color. But sometimes, its skin color ranges from somewhere around white to gray and even dark brown.

The color of its cephalothorax and abdomen can differ. Unlike most spiders, Brown Recluse has six pairs of eyes instead of the typical eight. These eyes are arranged in dyads: one pair is median, while the other two are lateral pairs. 

There is a characteristic violin-shaped pattern on the dorsal side of the cephalothorax. This marking gives the spider its many nicknames, including Violin Spider and Fiddleback Spider.

But this violin pattern is not a definitive identifier for this species because the same pattern can also be found in other spiders, like the Cellar Spiders and the Pirate Spiders. 

The ventral side of the cephalothorax and abdomen of this spider lacks any spots or special colorations. Its legs are also without spines.

The body of the Hobo Spider is also brown colored. Its abdomen has V-shaped patterns in the middle, with the Vs pointing toward the head.

There is a light-colored stripe running down the length of the sternum, with three or four pairs of light spots around. The dorsal side of the Hobo Spider has diffused haphazard patterns

4) Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Lifespan and Reproduction

Brown Recluse Spider tends to have a longer lifespan than the Hobo Spider. The Brown Recluse lives from 1 to 2 years, while the Hobo Spider lives somewhere around a year. In fact, the males of the species die after mating.

Brown Recluse produces several egg sacs during the three months of summer, starting from May to July. Each egg sack contains 40 – 50 eggs which hatch over a period of a month. 

Hobo Spiders are prolific breeders. The female Hobo Spider lays eggs through several egg sacs during the early autumn month of September. There are at least 50 – 100 eggs in every egg sac. The eggs take their time to hatch, which happens around the late spring. 

5) Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Behavior

Brown Recluse Spider
Brown Recluse Spiders are reclusive while Hobo Spiders are aggressive.

Brown Recluse Spider, true to its name, is reclusive in nature and prefers to be left alone. They are also mild-mannered and will not bite humans unless they are surprised or trapped against humans’ skin.

These spiders usually run away when threatened to avoid conflict. They are so shy they even play being dead to get away from the situation.

Brown Recluse Spider also has the custom of autotomy, where they discard a part of their body to get rid of predatory attacks and venom. Their discarded body parts, however, do not regenerate.

Hobo Spiders are generally very aggressive and will not hesitate to bite humans even though they’ll prefer being left alone. They have poor eyesight, and that might be a reason for their aggression since they can’t judge the threat very well. 

Hobo Spiders build funnel-shaped structures with their web. They lie, waiting for their prey at the small end of the funnel. These spiders use their web to trip or confuse their prey before attacking them.

6) Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spider: Venom Level

Both Brown Recluse and Hobo Spiders are venomous. Brown Recluse, in particular, is extremely venomous. It’s also one of the three medically significant venomous spiders in North America.

It has the very dangerous Sphingomyelinase D, which causes dermonecrotic loxoscelism. In loxoscelism, the bitten area becomes a muddy color, and shallow open wounds appear in that area. The cells around the bitten area also die. 

While this disease is the reason for the spider’s genus name, most bites don’t cause dermonecrotic loxoscelism and cause milder symptoms. Even less bite cases cause cutaneous and viscerocutaneous symptoms. Very rarely, however, the bite of Brown Recluse can cause haemolysis.

The venom of Hobo Spider is milder in comparison. Its toxicity is the cause for debates, but it is undoubtedly dangerous. It was thought before that Hobo Spider causes necrosis in humans, but it has since been disproved. But the bite does cause swelling and intense pain. Venom is more harmful to children and animals, but everyone should be cautioned around them.

As we saw in this article with the topic Brown Recluse vs Hobo Spiders, some aspects of these spiders have similarities, which is to be expected. But from a closer look, it’s apparent where their differences lie.

That is all for today. We’ll be back with more interesting topics such as this. In the meantime, make sure to give our other articles a read if you enjoy reading about nature and animals. And let us know your thoughts below in the comment section.

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