Frequently Asked Questions

With more than a million identified species and millions more yet to be discovered, people have a lot of questions about insects and other arthropods, here are some of the most frequently asked:

Q: What is entomology?

A: Entomology is the study of insects.  For a more in depth explanation, visit our About Entomology page below:


Q: Is this spider I found a brown recluse?

A: If you live in California, the answer is an almost certainly no.  Only freak occurrences like a recluse hitch-hiking on a U-Haul have brought the spider to the state.  Under normal circumstances, the range of the brown recluse does not extend west of Texas.  For more info on the brown recluse, read this article by UC Riverside entomologist Rick Vetter:

UC Riverside Brown Recluse Article

Q: What is this spider I found?

A: Here is a list of common spiders of the Bay Area and Sacramento region, written by UC Berkeley's Essig Museum of Entomology.  If you are still unsure, send a photo to our email,

Common Spiders

Q: What is a good online resource for IDing insects I find?

A: BugGuide and iNaturalist are two sites that can assist in your IDing efforts.  Both rely on community science efforts, so not all information will be 100% accurate, but they are both often great places to start.



This FAQ page is still growing, please send your questions to so they can be answered and added here!