Many people are under the impression that the brown recluse spider has a violin shape on its abdomen. It is further believed that all BR’s including males and females, have this mark in common. Actually, this method of identification is completely worthless since many spiders sport similar markings.
The best way to identify a BR is by looking at its eyes. The vast majority of spiders possess eight eyes that are situated into two rows. The BR, on the other hand, has only six eyes, but in three pairs. Only less than one percent of all arachnid species possess this particular arrangement of eyes, so eye counting is a much more useful identification method than locating a “violin mark.”
The violin method does not work since an overwhelming majority of spiders possess some sort of violin-shaped marking somewhere on their bodies. However, by using the “eye counting” method, up to 99 percent of spiders can be dismissed immediately as not belonging to the brown recluse family.
Have you ever attempted to identify a spider? If so, what method did you use?