Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes)
Aphonopelma chalcodes: Arizona desert, western desert, Arizona blond, or Mexican blond tarantula, the scientific name is derived from the roots “aphono” meaning without sound, “pelma” meaning foot, and “chalco” meaning brass, a reference to the coloration of the tarantulas hairs. Their common names are variously references to the areas where the tarantulas are present, as well as to their color.
(For adults) Ideal size: 5 gallon, maximum size: 10 gallon. Terrarium should be filled with at least 3” of substrate and be given an object (a piece of cork bark for example) to shelter under. This species typically burrows into the substrate. A non mesh lid should be used if available as adventurous tarantulas may climb their way up onto the mesh, get their legs entangled, and lose limbs as a result.
This species does not require any supplemental humidity. However, a water dish should be provided, being of a size small and shallow enough to not pose a drowning risk to the tarantula.
At least at least 1/2”. Grows up to 5”. Males have smaller bodies but longer legs relative to their bodies.
Lives up to 24 years in females, 12 years in males. Reach maturity in 10-12 years.
Drosophila melanogaster or D. hydei. As it grows, so should its prey. Prey items should be no larger than the size of the spider’s abdomen.
Males are generally thinner and lankier than females. Due to their age, Arizona desert tarantulas sold by Josh's Frogs are sold as unsexed animals.
The spiderlings sold by Josh’s Frogs are a uniform grayish color with a barely perceptible coat of fine hairs on their bodies. As an adult, the spider’s hair lengthens and gains a golden or sandy coloration over most of its body. Its abdomen and femur appears mostly a dark brown.
Spiders should be kept singly.
This species is difficult to breed in captivity, since they take 10-12 years just to reach sexual maturity. On top of that, the male of the species only lives a few months more after accomplishing this. The female, on the other hand, gets to live for another 10-12 years.
Most sources selling them collect them from the wild. If done, a male is introduced into the female’s enclosure, and if they are in the mood, the male will grasp the female’s fangs with his tibial hooks and inseminate her. Once completed, the male should be removed immediately as the female may otherwise attempt to eat him. If the copulation was properly achieved, the female will produce an egg sac. This will need to be removed from the terrarium after about 1 month and transferred to an incubator. When the eggs are near hatching, the sac should be carefully slit open and the eggs/spiderlings removed.
Predominantly desert regions in Arizona and Mexico.
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