Aphonopelma Hentzi – Texas Brown Tarantula

Aphonopelma hentzi, the Texas brown tarantula is one of the largest species of spiders native to the Southern United States. The large brown and furry spider lives in arid climate. Since they are a non-aggressive and docile species, they have become a popular pet spider throughout the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

Texas Brown Tarantula Description

As can be guessed from its common name, the predominant color of the Texas brown tarantula are various shapes of brown. Their large cephalothorax usually comes in a lighter brown. The abdomen comes in a darker brown covered with fine orange or lighter-brown hairs. Their legs, pedipalps and chelicerae (jaws) are are often darker, sometimes black and covered in fine hair as well. Female specimen have been observed to live up to over 40 years, making it one of the longest living spider species. While males have been observed to live up to seven years, most wild specimen will only live up to an age of one year, where they reach maturity.

Aphonopelma Hentzi - Texas Brown Tarantula seen in Texas
A Texas brown tarantula in dry grass in Southwestern Texas. Photo: Dallas Krenzel

Size

The Texas brown tarantula is one of the largest spider that is native to the Southern United States. The body of an adult female specimen is typically between 1.4 to 2 inches long (35-50 mm). Their legspan can be up to 4 inches (10 cm).

Web

As all other tarantulas, the Texas brown tarantula is a hunter spider and does not spin a web to catch its prey. However, they do have the ability to create a web and do so for several reasons. Since Texas brown tarantulas live in dry and arid environments, they often use their silk to support the structures of soild and sand where they live in.

Furthermore, Texas brown tarantulas create and egg sac shaped like a hammock with their silk glands that can hold up to 1,000 eggs. After laying the eggs, the female guards the egg sac in its burrow for 45-60 days before they hatch.

Since they don’t have a very good eyesight, despite having eight eyes, these tarantulas sometimes spin several strands of silk to support they hunting efforts. As soon as an insect touches the silk, the spider, waiting on the other end, can feel the vibration and knows that it is feeding time.

Texas brown tarantula on the street in texas size around 4 inches leg span
Aphonopelma hentzi photographed in Texas by Robert Nunnally

Bite

The Texas brown tarantula is not an aggressive spider and bites to humans occur very rarely. If you happen to run into one of them, they will most likely run away before you will even have the chance to identify it. In the case that the spider is backed up into a corner or if they feel threatened, they often lift up their two front legs to appear larger. If you notice this behavior, it is best not to handle the tarantula. It might defend itself with a bite if it feels overly threatened and can’t run away.

In the rare cases where a bite happens, it is usually not threatening. Their venom is not strong enough to cause any major discomfort for humans. In very few cases, allergic reactions may occur. However, due to the large fangs of the spider, the bite itself can be somewhat painful. A bite should be disinfected properly to avoid infections.

Aphonopelma hentzi scientific classification

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

Other common names

Next to its most common name “Texas brown tarantula”, Aphonopelma hentzi is also commonly known as: Texas tarantula, Oklahoma tarantula, Missouri tarantula.

Texas Brown Tarantula Range in the US

As its common name suggests, the Texas brown tarantula occurs in the Southern states of the U.S. Namely, these are: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas.

Aphonopelma Hentzi – Texas Brown Tarantula

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