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Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Desert Tarantula.


 Updated: 2/27/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Desert Tarantula  
Picture of Desert-Tarantula
Picture of Desert-Tarantula


The famous Desert Tarantula is one of Hollywood's favorite creatures and has been featured in scary movies, old westerns, and television.





Desert Tarantulas are a common sight in the Southwestern states and Mexico. They generally hide during the day, choosing instead to rest under rocks or in protective burrows that are abandoned by desert rodents.

As with most arachnids, the male of the species is smaller than the female, though Desert Tarantulas in general are noted for their large size compared to other spiders. Leg spans can reach up to 4 inches in diameter on the females, making it possible for them to cover the whole hand of a grown man. Their brown bodies are covered in an abundance of hairs. This bristly hair is the hallmark of identifying Tarantulas, in general. Males are generally completely dark, whereas females tend to have light brown (blonde) hairs on their carapace ('shoulders') and legs.

This spider will work hard at avoiding contact with people, and it will strike if disturbed or threatened. It should be noted that Desert Tarantula bites are considered poisonous, but not deadly. Seeking medical assistance is advisable if bitten. In general, Desert Tarantula venom is reported to only be as dangerous as bee venom, but a deadly allergic reaction may result in sensitive individuals. Every body is different, so medical care is advised in the event of a bite.

Because of their large size, Desert Tarantulas are able to take down and consume small reptiles in addition to insects. Spiderlings hatch from eggs laid by the female, and young male spiders eventually develop the large hairy pedipalps (sometimes mistaken for short legs) at the front of the face. Females enjoy great longevity and have been known to have life spans of up to 20 years.
Basic Information
Common Name: Desert Tarantula
Other Name(s): Desert Blonde Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma chalcodes
Category: Spider


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 50mm to 70mm (1.95in to 2.73in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: gray, brown, black, beige, tan
Additional Descriptors: heavy, hairy, knees, biting, venomous, biting




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Aphonopelma
Species: chalcodes


Spider Anatomy (Typical)
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
5
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Desert Tarantula may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Desert Tarantula
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