Mexican Bloodleg Tarantula

Aphonopelma seemanni - female - 2012-09-25.jpg
Female Aphonopelma seemanni
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Aphonopelma
Pocock, 1901[1]
Type species
Eurypelma seemanni

See text.

61–87 species, depending on the source
  • Apachepelma Smith, 1995
  • Chaunopelma Chamberlin, 1940
  • Delopelma Petrunkevitch, 1939
  • Dugesiella Pocock, 1901
  • Gosipelma Chamberlin, 1940
  • Rhechostica Simon, 1892

Aphonopelma is a genus of tarantulas native to the Americas. It includes nearly all the North American tarantula species north of Mexico and a considerable percentage of the tarantula species that range into Central America. Most are fairly large tarantulas with leg spans of 6 in (16 cm) or more. Like most New World tarantulas, all species of Aphonopelma have urticating hairs. Despite their fearsome appearance, these tarantulas are not harmful to humans and some species are popular in the pet trade. With about 90 species described so far, Aphonopelma comprises about 10% of the total number of described tarantula species. However, their taxonomy is poorly understood and species are difficult to tell apart, especially those that are brown or black without other pattern. Therefore, the actual number of species is unknown, with more species likely to be identified in the near future. In captivity, they are usually fed crickets; in the wild, they eat most insects, including crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, mantises, and beetles.


The genus has a complicated taxonomic history. It was erected in 1901 by Reginald I. Pocock, when he split up Eurypelma (now Avicularia), with the type species Eurypelma seemanni. Pocock also separated off the genus Dugesiella. Two more new genera were later distinguished from Aphonopelma: Delopelma by Alexander Petrunkevitch in 1939 and Chaunopelma by Joseph C. Chamberlin in 1940. In 1985, Robert J. Raven reviewed mygalomorph genera and considered the differences among all these genera to be insignificant. He synonymized them under the name Rhechostica, which had been published by Eugène Simon in 1892, so had priority. Since the name Aphonopelma was much better known than Rechostica, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in 1991 agreed to give Aphonopelma precedence over Rhechostica. In 1995, Smith erected the genus Apachepelma for the species A. paloma; in 1997, Prentice transferred it back to Aphonopelma.[2]

California ebony tarantula (Aphonopelma eutylenum) wandering near Exeter, CA


Molecular phylogenetic studies suggest that the genus is not monophyletic. Two groups of species are apparent: one from Central America, including the type species A. seemanni from Costa Rica, and another made up of species found in the United States. The relationship between the two groups and the genus Sericopelma is shown in the cladogram below. With further research, a new genus may be needed for the American group of species.[2]

Aphonopelma species from Central America


Aphonopelma species from the US


As of July 2022, the World Spider Catalog accepted 59 species.[1] A monograph of the genus within the United States, published in 2016, made some major revisions. Only 15 of the original 55 U.S. species were fully accepted, 33 were reduced to synonyms, and seven to nomina dubia (doubtful names). A further 14 new U.S. species were then described.[2]

*Aphonopelma anax (Chamberlin, 1940)United States, Mexico

In synonymy

Nomina dubia

  • Aphonopelma aberrans Chamberlin, 1917 - Chile
  • Aphonopelma baergi Chamberlin, 1940 - United States
  • Aphonopelma braunshausenii Tesmoingt, 1996 -Mexico
  • Aphonopelma californicum Doleschall, in Ausserer, 1871United States
  • Aphonopelma cratium Chamberlin, 1940United States
  • Aphonopelma hollyi Smith, 1995United States
  • Aphonopelma lamperti Strand, 1907 - unknown locality
  • Aphonopelma leiogaster Doleschall, in Ausserer, 1871 - United States
  • Aphonopelma mordax Ausserer, 1871 - United States
  • Aphonopelma orthonops Chamberlin, 1940United States
  • Aphonopelma pedatum Strand, 1907Suriname
  • Aphonopelma pseudoroseum Strand, 1907United States
  • Aphonopelma radinum Chamberlin & Ivie 1939United States
  • Aphonopelma rileyi Marx, 1888United States
  • Aphonopelma rubropilosum Ausserer, 1871Brazil
  • Aphonopelma rusticum Simon, 1891 - Mexico
  • Aphonopelma sericeum Ausserer, 1875 - Mexico
  • Aphonopelma texense Simon, 1891United States

Species transferred to other genera

Species names rejected in the 2016 monograph include:[2]

  • Aphonopelma apacheum Chamberlin, 1940 = A. chalcodes
  • Aphonopelma arnoldi Smith, 1995 = A. armada
  • Aphonopelma baergi Chamberlin, 1940, nom. dub.
  • Aphonopelma behlei Chamberlin, 1940 = A. marxi
  • Aphonopelma breenei Smith, 1995 = A. anax
  • Aphonopelma brunnius Chamberlin, 1940 = A. iodius
  • Aphonopelma chambersi Smith, 1995 = A. eutylenum
  • Aphonopelma chamberlini Smith, 1995 = A. iodius
  • Aphonopelma clarki Smith, 1995 = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma clarum Chamberlin, 1940 = A. eutylenum
  • Aphonopelma coloradanum (Chamberlin, 1940) = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma cratium Chamberlin, 1940, nom. dub.
  • Aphonopelma cryptethum Chamberlin, 1940 = A. eutylenum
  • Aphonopelma echinum (Chamberlin, 1940) = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma gurleyi Smith, 1995 = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma harlingenum (Chamberlin, 1940) = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma heterops Chamberlin, 1940 = A. moderatum
  • Aphonopelma iviei Smith, 1995 = A. iodius
  • Aphonopelma jungi Smith, 1995 = A. vorhiesi
  • Aphonopelma lithodomum Chamberlin, 1940 = A. iodius
  • Aphonopelma minchi Smith, 1995 = A. chalcodes
  • Aphonopelma mordax (Ausserer, 1871), nom. dub.
  • Aphonopelma odelli Smith, 1995 = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma phanum Chamberlin, 1940 = A. steindachneri
  • Aphonopelma punzoi Smith, 1995 = A. vorhiesi
  • Aphonopelma radinum (Chamberlin & Ivie, 1939), nom. dub.
  • Aphonopelma reversum Chamberlin, 1940 = A. steindachneri
  • Aphonopelma rothi Smith, 1995 = A. chalcodes
  • Aphonopelma rusticum (Simon, 1891), nom. dub.
  • Aphonopelma sandersoni Smith, 1995 = A. eutylenum
  • Aphonopelma schmidti Smith, 1995 = A. chalcodes
  • Aphonopelma smithi Smith, 1995 = A. iodius
  • Aphonopelma stahnkei Smith, 1995 = A. chalcodes
  • Aphonopelma texense (Simon, 1891), nom. dub.
  • Aphonopelma vogelae Smith, 1995 = A. marxi
  • Aphonopelma waconum (Chamberlin, 1940) = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma wichitanum (Chamberlin, 1940) = A. hentzi
  • Aphonopelma zionis Chamberlin, 1940 = A. iodius


  1. ^ a b "Aphonopelma Pocock, 1901", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2020-03-01
  2. ^ a b c d Hamilton, Chris A.; Hendrixson, Brent E. & Bond, Jason E. (2016-02-04), "Taxonomic revision of the tarantula genus Aphonopelma Pocock, 1901 (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Theraphosidae) within the United States", ZooKeys (560): 1–340, doi:10.3897/zookeys.560.6264, PMC 4768370, PMID 27006611

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