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Cellar Spider vs Brown Recluse (Similarities & Differences)

There are many big differences between a cellar spider and a brown recluse. A cellar spider (colloquially: the daddy long legs) has slim and long legs and is much thinner than a brown recluse. Its body is much smaller and it is known for hanging from its web, which will usually be located in corners and cellars.

brown recluse spider

A brown recluse is highly venemous and its bite is very painful. A cellar spider does not harm humans and in fact is good to have around because it scares off other spiders.

A brown recluse is completely different; it is entirely brown and has a violin-like shape near its head. It is much larger and thicker than a cellar spider, it has hairs on its body, and it also has a much larger cephalothorax than a cellar spider. In addition, it spends most of its time hiding in corners while cellar spiders might be seen in the open.

Important Note: This is general information for entertainment purposes only. If you have been bitten, seek professional medical attention immediately. Always have professionals identify and manage your pest control needs.

Cellar Spider vs Brown Recluse

FeatureCellar SpiderBrown Recluse
1. Scientific NamePholcidaeLoxosceles reclusa
2. Venom/BiteLowHigh
3. ColorGrayBrown
4. Distinct PatternThin legs and tiny bodyViolin shape on head
5. Body Size2 – 10mm6 – 20mm
6. Where they LiveAll over North AmericaSouthern USA
7. Web TypeTangled web on roofsTangled web on ground
8. HabitatLoves indoors, roofs, and bathroomsLoves indoors, dark, and dry places
9 Eye Pattern8 eyes arranged in a horizontal pattern of 3-2-36 eyes arranged in a triangle.

Cellar Spider Footage (Credit)

Brown Recluse Spider Footage (Credit)

Similarities

There are not that many similarities between these two spider species, but there are still some that need to be discussed.

1. Diet

Both spiders have a similar diet.

They both prefer to eat insects, other smaller spiders, invertebrates, and other smaller animals that they can catch with their webs. They’re quite flexible with their diet though and will eat almost anything they can find in their habitat.

The brown recluse also has a very similar menu to a cellar spider. It also likes insects, especially insects that are smaller than itself. However, it is more than capable of catching animals that are larger than itself, which is mainly because of its potent venom and its slightly larger size.

2. Size

Overall the spiders are about the same size when accounting for the lefs, but the brown recluse has a much larger body and shorter legs. 

Both spiders are anywhere between ¼ to ½ inch in size, although brown recluses can sometimes be even larger than that. This means that they can be very similar in size, which is a similarity that they share.

However, it should be pretty easy to distinguish between the two animals, despite their similarity in size. That’s because a brown recluse appears much bulkier thanks to its larger body, and it also has some hairs on its body which makes it seem as though it’s larger than a cellar spider.

3. Webs

Cellar spider webs are often up high while brown recluse webs are down low.

Both spiders like to create webs in remote areas of the home, especially in corners and behind furniture, or anywhere it might have space to operate.

The cellar spider tends to make its webs high up, such as in the high corners of a cellar. Brown recluse are ground spiders, meaning their webs are usually on the ground between rocks or other objects.

Differences

There are many crucial differences between these two animals, so let’s dive into them.

1. Body Size

The brown recluse has a larger body than the cellar spider.

The first and most obvious difference is the body size of the animal. The brown recluse has a much thicker body and head, while the cellar spider’s body is much different. It’s known for having extremely long legs and a relatively small body, which should be noted immediately.

Also, a cellar spider has much slimmer legs than the brown recluse, even though they might be as long as the legs of a brown recluse. However, the brown recluse will have thicker legs and they will also be covered by hairs, which should make it quite easy for you to spot the difference right away.

2. Overall Appearance and Colors

The brown recluse is a small brown spider while the cellar spider is a gray spider with thin spindly legs.

The second obvious difference will be their overall appearance. In this regard, we’re talking about their colors and their looks, which should be seen quite quickly. Firstly, the brown recluse has an all-brown body and it also has a violin-like shape near its head, while the cellar spider has no such features.

Instead, the cellar spider will appear to be all black or brown-black, with its body sometimes appearing as brown and its legs black. Sometimes, its legs will also be brown, as there are different variations of this spider species that you’ll find out there.

Another good way to tell the difference between the two is to take a look at their body proportions. Namely, the brown recluse will have a much thicker overall appearance than the cellar spider, which is mainly thanks to its thick body, but also its thicker legs. Even though they might be of a similar size, the brown recluse will appear to be bulkier.

Read More: Four Spiders that look Eerily Similar to the Brown Recluse

3. Habitat

Both spiders are found in American homes, although cellar spiders much prefer to go into homes than the brown recluse.

A cellar spider will spend almost its entire life inside a home, where it will create webs and hunt insects inside homes.

Brown recluse spiders like to hide in dark spots where they can’t be seen. It will find its way inside sheds and between logs, as well as holes in the terrain where it can hide and find its prey with ease. 

A cellar spider will, on the other hand, spend all of its life indoors. They also like to hide in dark corners where they will create a web that will help them hunt insects. They’ll often hang from this web, which is crucial for their survival. The brown recluse rarely uses its web in this way as it likes to spin its web on the floor.

4. Speed

The brown recluse will move much faster than a cellar spider.

A cellar spider will spend the majority of its life stationary, as it likes to hang from its web and find its peace that way; however, it can run away if it’s compromised, but it’s not nearly as fast as the brown recluse.

The brown recluse, on the other hand, doesn’t like being spotted out in the open. If that happens, it will seek shelter again and hide as quickly as possible, which they will do thanks to their fast legs. 

In this regard, the brown recluse is much faster and more agile than the cellar spider, so you’ll rarely see a cellar spider running around as quickly as the brown recluse spider can.

Which is More Venomous?

The brown recluse is highly venomous and dangerous to humans while the cellar spider has low levels of venom and is not harmful to humans.

Pholcidae, or cellar spiders, do have venom, but its venom is not nearly potent enough to cause damage to a human being. There’s a popular urban myth going around that cellar spiders have indeed a potent venom that can kill a human, but its fangs are not powerful enough to puncture human skin.

That’s simply not true, which has been proved several times – including once by Mythbusters.

On the other hand, the brown recluse can potentially be dangerous to humans. They have a powerful venom that might cause severe health problems to humans. In fact, brown recluse spiders are often included in lists of the most dangerous or venomous spiders, and for good reason.

A brown recluse bite might result in permanent damage to the skin, and it can also cause severe symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, sweating, and other symptoms. 

You’d ideally want to avoid a brown recluse bite, but cellar spiders are quite harmless, on the other hand.

Other Spider Comparisons:

Conclusion

Cellar spiders and brown recluse spiders are two different creatures. Cellar spiders are smaller and harmless, while brown recluse spiders can be dangerous to humans if they bite us. That’s why you should be able to recognize the differences between the two immediately.