Hobo spiders and brown recluses are spiders with notorious reputations. They both are brown in coloration but have very clear and distinct physical differences. Also known as the fiddle-back spider, the brown recluse is known for the violin-shaped marking present atop its abdomen. The other characteristic that must be seen together with the fiddle to verify a recluse is the six eyes arranged in pairs. Hobo spider coloration tends to range from rust to reddish brown. They also have distinct patterning on their abdomen which a recluse will not.
Another important distinction is that each spider occurs in very different locations of the U.S. Hobo spiders normally are found in the Pacific Northwest, and the brown recluse in the central southern part of the U.S. The brown recluse is native to the U.S., but the hobo spider is an invasive species from Europe.
Brown recluse spiders have necrotoxic venom that is capable, although unlikely, of causing necrotic lesions. Initially, hobo spiders were thought to have similar venom, but current scientific research as well as medical literature indicates the venom is not a medical threat to the average person.