Tarantulas in Missouri (Pictures & Facts) – Wildlife Informer provides an informative overview of the Missouri tarantula, the only species of tarantula found in the state. These large spiders, known for their intimidating appearance and prominent fangs, are actually harmless to humans and play a vital role in the ecosystem. The article covers various aspects of Missouri tarantulas, including their size, habitat, life cycle, diet, and predators. It also highlights interesting facts about these spiders and mentions other spider species found in Missouri that are often mistaken for tarantulas. Overall, this article serves as a comprehensive guide for those interested in learning more about the Missouri tarantula and its significance in the region’s wildlife.
Tarantulas in Missouri
Tarantulas are a fascinating and often misunderstood group of spiders. In the state of Missouri, there is one species of tarantula that calls this region home – the Missouri tarantula. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the Missouri tarantula, including its scientific name, size, life cycle, habitat, predators, human interaction, interesting facts, and similar species. By the end of this article, readers will have a deeper understanding and appreciation for these unique creatures.
The Missouri Tarantula
The Missouri tarantula, also known as Aphonopelma hentzi, is the largest spider found in the state of Missouri. This species is one of the most common tarantulas found in the United States. While it is often referred to as the Missouri tarantula, its common names can vary depending on the state it is found in. For example, in Texas, it is called a Texas brown tarantula. The Missouri tarantula belongs to the Theraphosidae family and Araneae order.
The Missouri tarantula is a sizeable spider, with females being slightly larger than males. On average, females measure around two inches in size, not accounting for the length of their legs. Males, on the other hand, average around one and a half inches in size. The legs of these spiders can reach up to six inches long. Their bodies and legs are covered in reddish-brown hairs that appear coarse to the touch, while the rest of their bodies have a chocolate brown color.
Missouri tarantulas live in burrows, where females lay their eggs and secure them with webbing. For the first week of their lives, hatched tarantulas stay with their mothers. After this period, young tarantulas venture out to live on their own. In the wild, Missouri tarantulas typically have a short life expectancy, usually only living for one season. However, in captivity, they can live for several years, with females often reaching up to 30 years old.
Missouri tarantulas are commonly found in rocky and dry areas. They are skilled burrowers and spend a significant amount of time in their burrows. Sometimes they will occupy tunnels dug by reptiles, utilizing them as their own burrows. These tarantulas use silk to line their burrows, and it is within these burrows that females lay their eggs. Missouri tarantulas prefer to live in locations that are far from human activity, such as mountainous regions or desert areas. They are most active during the summer and fall months and are often spotted in the southern regions of the state.
While Missouri tarantulas are predators in their habitats, they also have their own share of predators to contend with. In addition to their bites, which possess enough venom to incapacitate prey, tarantulas’ primary defense mechanism is hiding in their burrows. Some of the main predators of the Missouri tarantula include birds, skunks, lizards, and snakes. These spiders are not aggressive towards humans and pose no harm to them.
Contrary to popular belief, Missouri tarantulas are not dangerous to humans. Their bites have been compared to bee stings in terms of their effects. These tarantulas are docile creatures and have become popular pets over the years. When kept in captivity, many individuals are comfortable with being handled. However, in the wild, they are shy and tend to hide from any people they encounter. It is important to note that while their appearance may be intimidating, Missouri tarantulas are harmless and pose no threat to humans.
There are several interesting facts about the Missouri tarantula. These spiders are mainly found in central and southern regions of Missouri, primarily due to the Missouri River dividing the state. They arrived in Missouri and surrounding regions approximately 8,000 years ago. Missouri tarantulas play a crucial role in controlling insect populations in their ecosystems, as they are ambush hunters and rely on their stealth and agility to capture prey.
While the Missouri tarantula is the only tarantula species known to inhabit Missouri, there are several other spider species in the state that are frequently mistaken for tarantulas. These include dark fishing spiders, wolf spiders, and tan jumping spiders. Dark fishing spiders are large enough to be confused with tarantulas, while wolf spiders are known for their ferocious hunting behavior and speed. Tan jumping spiders, on the other hand, are small and possess impressive jumping abilities.
The Missouri tarantula is the sole species of tarantula found in Missouri. Despite their intimidating appearance, Missouri tarantulas are harmless and play an important role in the state’s ecosystem. While there are other spider species in the region that may resemble tarantulas, it is important to distinguish the Missouri tarantula from these other species. By understanding the characteristics and behaviors of these unique spiders, we can foster a greater appreciation and coexistence with the natural world.