Tarantula
Dugesiella hentzi

CLASS: Arthropoda
ORDER: Arachnida
FAMILY: Theraphosidae

SIZE: Females are 1 1/3 - 2 inches; males are 1 - 2 1/16 inches

RANGE: Southern Missouri and Kansas, south through Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana

HABITAT: Makes burrows in natural cavities in the ground, old rodent burros, under stones or debris on the ground, in cracks of trees

DIET:
Wild - Insects, other spiders, larger species can eat lizards, snakes, toads, and birds
Zoo - crickets, sometimes pinky mice

DESCRIPTION:
Dark brown legs with reddish golden hairs on carapace, abdomen brownish black

Jaws move vertically up and down as opposed to more common side-to-side movement

Numerous short, kinked and barded hairs on abdomen which may cause itching

FACTS:

  • One of the largest and longest living of all land invertebrates
  • Life span of 30 years or more
  • Tarantulas mold throughout their lives
  • Poor eyesight; body hairs very sensitive to vibrations
  • Males die soon after mating and reach sexual maturity in 5-7 years
  • They build no webs; live in burrows and are passive hunters
  • Not seriously poisonous but can inflict a painful bite
  • In the U.S. the only serious natural enemy is a large wasp called the tarantula hawk

YOUNG:

  • Mating occurs in the fall and female produces an egg cocoon the following summer
  • 800-850 eggs per egg sac are produced
  • After emerging from the sac the young will soon molt and then venture out on their own