Aphonopelma hentzi, the Texas brown tarantula, (also known as Oklahoma brown tarantula or Missouri tarantula), is one of the most common species of tarantula living in the southern United States today. Texas brown tarantulas can grow in excess of a four-inch leg span, and weigh more than 3 ounces as adults. The body is dark brown, though shades may vary between individual tarantulas. The colors are more distinct after a molt, as with many arthropods.
Female A. hentzi can lay up to 1,000 eggs. The eggs are positioned securely in a web, which remains in the tarantula burrow, and guarded by the female. Eggs hatch in 45 to 60 days. Once spiderlings leave the egg sac, it is not unusual for them to stay with the females for up to a week or possibly longer before dispersing to make their own burrows.
A. hentzi is a rather docile and non-aggressive species. When disturbed, like most other tarantulas, A. hentzi will maneuver itself to a stance on its hind legs and raise its front legs in a threatening manner. Additionally, A. hentzi and most other tarantulas found in the Americas have small coarse brown or black urticating hairs on their abdomen that they will kick in the direction of whatever they may feel threatened by. Bites from the Texas brown tarantula, as with all tarantulas, are generally not a serious harm to humans except in the case of an allergic reaction.
The distribution of Aphonopelma hentzi includes the following states in the United States: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. The species has also been documented in the northern parts of Mexico, extending along the New Mexico and Texas borders.
A. hentzi is a terrestrial species commonly found in grasslands, burrowed underground, or using logs, stones, or other small animals' abandoned dens as their home and feeding grounds. Texas brown tarantulas will use their spinnerets to line the entrance of their shelter with webbing in order to detect passing prey.
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