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GALLERIES > OTHER INSECTS AND VARIOUS SPECIES > DESERT TARANTULA [Aphonopelma chalcodes]


Desert Tarantula Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Madera Canyon, AZ
GPS: 31.7N, -110.9W, elev=4,953' MAP
Date: November 10, 2007
ID : 6926 [3888 x 2592]

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SPECIES INFO

Desert Tarantulas (Aphonopelma chalcodes; Family Theraphasidae) are large, interesting spiders that live in the Southwestern deserts from California to New Mexico. They eat insects, other spiders, small lizards, and probably anything else they can catch.

Like all spiders, tarantulas have fangs and venom. However, they are generally harmless to humans (said to be similar to a bee sting). I find that many tarantulas are docile and will crawl onto your hand and up your arm. Sometimes, however, they are high-strung and bare their fangs at the first contact with a human hand. Whatever you do, don't try to grab and pick them up, as they are quicker than they look and will vigorously defend themselves.

Females are uniformly tan in color. Male have black legs, a brownish cephalothorax, and a reddish abdomen. Both sexes are covered with hairs.

Male Desert Tarantulas live to be about 3-years old. At that age, they are mature and set out on their primal quest walking across the desert in search of a female during the fall "migration." Males usually die on or during their quest at an age of about 3 years. If predators like Tarantula Hawks or coyotes don't get him, the female may. In contrast, females are more sedentary and wait in their burrows a suitable male to arrive. Females can live for about 20 years.

Tarantualas eat lizards, insects, and other bugs. They kill the prey item by injecting venom with a bite from their quarter-inch-long fangs. Enzymes in the venom dissolve the soft tissues inside the victim, allowing the tarantula to suck it dry and leave an empty shell behind.

If you get bit, consider calling the National Poison Control Center toll-free at (800) 222-1222. This number is good for emergency information as well as general information and questions.



                                     



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