Even though tarantulas are typically thought of as exotic spiders, there are more than a few native species of tarantulas in the United States. In general, tarantulas thrive in states that have warmer climates year round, such as California, Texas, and Arizona, and typically stick to the desert areas of these states. In this article we’re going to learn more about these large spiders found in the United States.
10 Tarantulas in the United States
Tarantulas are found in 12 states, which include Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. In fact, there are more than 50 different tarantula species native to the United States and in this article we’ll highlight 10 of them.
1. Desert Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma chalcodes
The desert tarantula make their homes underground in deep burrows that they line with their silk web. This webbing helps to prevent their burrow from caving in. They are found in the southwestern portion of the United States, and in Mexico as well.
They have a brown or grayish body and can measure up to 3 inches long. The female of this species can live for up to 20 years. The desert tarantula isn’t dangerous to humans and won’t attack unless it feels threatened.
Their venom is also not deadly to humans. One thing to watch out for, however, is that tarantulas of all types will kick hairs at their attackers. These hairs can get in your eyes or on your skin and create painful irritation and inflammation.
2. Oklahoma Brown Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
Also known as the Texas brown tarantula, Louisiana tarantula, or Missouri tarantula, the Oklahoma brown tarantula creates burrows underneath rocks and logs. It is a medium-sized spider with a body that is 2 to 3 inches long and a leg span of about 4 inches.
They are found throughout Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. They can also be found in the southern part of Kansas. As its name suggests, this tarantula is brown in color and it feeds on various insects, such as grasshoppers, meal worms, and even locusts.
3. Grand Canyon Black Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma marxi
The Grand Canyon black tarantula are generally found in deserts and sage brush, but can also make their way to metropolitan areas. It’s body is typically black and is covered in dark brown or black hair. Their abdomens feature several hairs that are long with a reddish orange color.
This tarantula is one of the larger species found in New Mexico and can reach 5 inches or more. While they may look intimidating, the Grand Canyon black tarantula isn’t aggressive and its venom is non-toxic to humans.
4. Eurypelma californicum
Scientific Name: Eurypelma californicum
The Eurypelma californicum has a dark colored body and it moves rather sluggishly. It is not a commonly studied tarantula, so not much is known about this species. Its body can measure up to 2 inches, with a leg span of almost 5 inches.
The Eurypelma californicum is found in California, Arizona, and Texas, and can live up to 30 years. Like the other tarantulas in the United States, the Eurypelma californicum isn’t toxic to humans and doesn’t pose a threat. That doesn’t mean you should bother the creature if you come across one, since they can still bite if they feel threatened.
5. Peloncillo Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma peloncillo
The Peloncillo tarantula is found in the Peloncillo Mountains in New Mexico. It is a medium-sized spider that grows between 3 and 5 inches. They thrive in rocky areas where the soil doesn’t get too soggy.
They are not a common sight due to their secretive nature, but you may be able to spot one during their breeding season, which is July to August, when they leave their homes to find a mate. Their bodies can be various hues of black, brown, or tan, but the females are usually lighter in color than the males.
6. Chiricahuan Gray Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma gabeli
Chihuahuan trantulas are light or dark brown and may have blackish spots on their legs. This tarantula got its name from the area where it is normally found, which is in the Chihuahuan desert in New Mexico.
This species of tarantula thrives in desert conditions where the soil is loose, and they generally make their home out of rodent burrows that have been abandoned. However, they can also create their own burrows in tree trunks or under rocks. They can reach sizes of up to 5 ½ inches and the female can live for up to 40 years.
7. Aphonopelma Iodius
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma Iodius
Aphonopelma Iodius is found throughout California, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. They make their homes in underground burrows in desert regions. It is not uncommon to find the entrance of their burrows completely blocked off with a dirt plug or web to help protect them from predators and the heat.
Their bodies measure about 3 to 5 inches and can be dark brown, light brown, or shades of gray. The bite of this tarantula is considered venomous, but thankfully it isn’t deadly.
8. Aphonopelma Parvum
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma parvum
Aphonopelma parvum is a smaller tarantula that reaches only about 2 inches in size. They are found in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico and live in underground burrows that have been abandoned or create their own in crevices or under rocks.
This species is still considered relatively new and not a whole lot is known about it. The males of this species are typically black, while the females can be brown in color. The females also have larger abdomens that are more round than the males, while the males have smaller abdomens and longer legs.
9. Tucson Bronze Tarantula
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma vorhiesi
The Tuscon bronze tarantula is a smaller tarantula, and one of the most commonly seen species in New Mexico. It typically doesn’t reach sizes of more than 3 inches. In fact, most of them have a body that is only a little over an inch and a half in size.
These tarantulas live in crevices or underground burrows, which they line with webbing. The males of this species are darker than the females and have a black body that looks a little like velvet. The female’s body, however, is either brown or light brown in color.
Both sexes have reddish orange hairs on their abdomen. The Tucson bronze tarantula is docile and is often used as a pet.
10. Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Scientific Name: Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Aphonopelma johnnycashi is a species of tarantula that was just discovered in 2015 near Folsom prison in California, and thus was named after the singer Johnny Cash who wrote and sung the song “Folsom Prison Blues.” Aphonopelma johnnycashi males are also typically jet black in color, and this arachnid is sometimes referred to as “the man in black”, which is another reference to Johnny Cash who was also known by the moniker.
This tarantula is medium to large in size, and can reach up to 6 inches long. The females are not nearly as dark as the males, and are often more brown than black in color. They are not aggressive and do not pose a threat to humans.