Minnesota is among the states that could become part of the expanded territory of “one of the most feared spiders in North America,” according to a release from the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas.
The Brown Recluse’s venom is highly toxic and comparable to the bite of a rattlesnake. The venom kills tissue and can be deadly if not treated in a prompt manner. The spiders, which are most active at night, are known to hide in clothing and dark spaces making them difficult to spot.
Researcher Erin Saupe authored a study that attempts to predict how the distribution of the spider may be affected by climate changes.
To address the issue of brown recluse distribution, Saupe and other researchers used a predictive mapping technique called ecological niche modeling. They applied future climate change scenarios to the spider’s known distribution in the Midwest and southern United States. The researchers concluded that the range may expand northward, potentially invading previously unaffected regions. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The Discovery Channel produced a show on just how deadly the venom from this spider can be.
The research is published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS One.