Spider bites

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  • Standard abscess are not typically due to spider bites and should not be diagnosed as such

Clinically important spider genera by geographic region

Visual Spider Identification

Clinical Features


  • Determine circumstances of bite to assess consistency with spider habitat and behavior
    • Indoors vs outdoors
    • Day vs night
    • Geographic location (recent travel)
  • Appearance of the spider if seen
  • Dead spiders can be preserved in 70% EtOH and later identified by arachnologists or entomologist

Physical Exam

  • No pathognomonic signs proving lesion is a spider bite
  • Assess both bite site and for systemic signs
  • Bite Site
    • Location
      • Spider bites more common when clothing is tight against skin
    • Number of bites
      • Multiple bites suggest parasitic insect and not spider
    • Appearance of bite
      • Erythema, pallor, hemorrhage, induration, tenderness, paresthesia, vesicles
  • Systemic findings

Differential Diagnosis

Envenomations, bites and stings




  • Typically a clinical diagnosis



See Also

External Links


  • Boyer LV, Binford GJ, Degan JA. Spider Bites. In Auerbach PS, Cushing TA, Harris NS. Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017: 993-1016.