Aphonopelma Eutylenum – California Ebony Tarantula

Aphonopelma eutylenum, the California ebony tarantula is a large spider that can be found in California and its surrounding states including Northwestern Mexico. Mostly, they are found in the grassy areas around the Eastern region of the San Francisco Bay Area down to San Diego. As many other spiders, the California ebony tarantula is a nocturnal animal and rarely leaves its hole during daytime. It is a popular pet spider throughout the United States as it is very docile and poses no threat to humans.

California Ebony Tarantula Description

As its common name suggests, the predominant colors of the California ebony tarantula are dark browns and black. Both male and female spiders reach adulthood after 8-12 years. During this time, both sexes have a similar appearance. Adult female specimen have a large abdomen and large fangs and often have lighter color tones. The male leave their burrows once they have reached adulthood in search for a mate. They will do so with all effort they can bring up and their body will get continuously weaker until they die around six months later. Female California ebony tarantulas can reach an age of up to 25 years.

The California ebony tarantula can shed some spiky urticating hairs on its abdomen for defense against predators. Older spiders often have a differently colored spot on the back of their abdomen with missing hairs. They are a close relative of the Texas brown tarantula.

Female california ebony tarantula beige brown dark with spot on abdomen
Can you see the hairless spot on the back of the abdomen of this female California ebony tarantula? The tarantula sheds these urticating hairs to irritate predators. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Size

The female California tarantula can reach a leg span of up to 5 inches (13 cm). The male is smaller than the female.

Web

As a hunter spider, the California ebony tarantula does not spin a web to catch its prey. They spend a large share of their lifetime inside their underground burrows waiting for small animals to get close enough. The tarantula usually spins several small strands of silk around its hole. As soon as a small creature gets close enough, the fast tarantula comes out of its hiding to catch the prey. The spider will feel if a larger animal or humans approach its burrow and will not leave until the danger has passed.

Aphonopelma eutylenum male california ebony tarantula
A male California ebony tarantula. Photo: Wikiemdia Commons

Bite

Tarantulas are generally very docile spiders and rarely bite humans or larger animals. The California ebony tarantula even more than many other species. However, in the rare cases in which a bite does happen, it will not have any long-term effect. Due to the large fangs, the bite itself can be painful. However, the amount and intensity of the venom of the California ebony tarantula is not enough to cause any physical damage or discomfort to humans.

Aphonopelma eutylenum scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Genus: Aphonopelma
  • Species: Aphonopelma eutylenum

Other common names

Commonly, Aphonopelma eutylenum is called California ebony tarantula or California tarantula.

California Ebony Tarantula Range in the US

Aphonopelma Eutylenum – California Ebony Tarantula range

The largest share of the population of the California ebony tarantula can be found in California. Smaller populations can also be found in Nevada, Arizona and Oregon.

Aphonopelma Eutylenum – California Ebony Tarantula

4 thoughts on “Aphonopelma Eutylenum – California Ebony Tarantula

  1. Found this spider in the bottom of a shallow pool, son’t know how long it had been there.
    Removed it carefully, placed it on a piece of white paper, and took the attached photo. We placed the spider under a plastic cup to save and show to our grandsons before disposing of it.

    Two days later, when I retrieved the spider to show to our grandsons it was on its back. When turned upright it appeared to move. Turns out the spider was alive. After showing it to our grandsons I released it in our backyard and it scurried off rapidly, quite alive!

    How long can a tarantula survive under water? Is this an Ebony Tarantula or perhaps a “Johnny Cash”?

    Thank you.

  2. What is this? Live in LA. Stayed still. Once we approached it it walked backwards. Not aggressive.

    1. Hi Lawrence, great find! This is a male tarantula (genus Aphonopelma). The males of several species look very similar. They emerge from their underground burrows in search for a mate (and hoping they won’t be eaten by them when getting too close).
      If you are interested in learning more about spiders in California, check out our California spider identification and information book – available as an ebook here or as a printed paperback on Amazon.

  3. We saw this one walking up to our canopy this October, (assuming it’s a male) he was not threatened by us at all but he gave us a scare! We thought he was kinda cute going on his adventure!

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