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Mexican Orange-kneed Tarantula (Euathlus smithii)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Mexican Orange-kneed Tarantula



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The endangered Mexican Orange-kneed Tarantula is protected by international laws so it can remain a part of its natural ecosystem for generations to come.



Updated: 08/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Tarantulas are magnificently large and extremely hairy. Including legs, some can grow as long as 150 mm. This particular species has bright orange patches on its "knee" joints and lower legs joints, and it is this unique coloration has actually led to their decline. Orange-kneed Tarantulas became popular pets and were taken from the wild and sold in stores. Their trade has now become illegal and they are now protected as an endangered species after being placed on the CITES list.

Males are generally smaller and thinner than females, though their legs are longer. They are territorial and aggressive with other intruding males. Females are larger and live longer by an average of 10-20 years longer. Males generally live about 10 years, an age about when they become sexually mature, and then they die.

Nocturnal in nature, they are most active at night and are hunters, not spinners. They may use their silk to line their daytime hideouts, but not to catch prey. North American tarantula venom is not lethal, but bites can be as painful as a bee sting. Also, the bristles on the spider's abdomen break off easily and can penetrate skin, causing irritation and redness on both prey (i.e. mice) and people trying to handle them. This type of spider is generally best left as a 'look, but don't touch' species.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Theraphosida
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          Genus: Euathlus
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            Species: smithii
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Euathlus smithii
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 60mm (1.37" to 2.36")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, orange, gray, white
Descriptors: hairy, furry, orange, knees, big, huge, biting, venomous
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 35mm and 60mm
Lo: 35mm
Md: 47.5mm
Hi: 60mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
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* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Mexican Orange-kneed Tarantula may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects 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. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Mexican Orange-kneed Tarantula. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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