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In 2017, a group of us decided to tackle the ever-present problem of spider misidentification by creating the Twitter account @RecluseOrNot. Focused mainly around the eponymous recluse spiders – particularly, but not limited to, the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) – our account uses social media to help people identify potential recluses and educate them about spiders in general.
At the time of writing this, we have 1,971 followers – a fairly respectable number, though we had no goal in mind when we started. In the first year of our account being active, from September 2017 to September 2018 (all of the data in this piece refer to this period), we had 548 submissions, or an average of about 1.5 submissions per day. There was a seasonality for submissions, though: we got fewer submissions in the winter months (about 5-20 per month) than we did during the summer months (about 70-90 per month).
Identification - Requests - Countries - India - Thailand
Identification requests came from 13 countries, including India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Domestically, we received tweets from 45 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico; the only states without submissions were Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. People all over the place wanted to know whether they had found a recluse.
As expected, there were a lot of images of non-recluse spiders submitted. In fact...
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