Archive

Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

Distribution of Tarantulas in Arizona

A total of 14 tarantula species have been described as occurring in Arizona. The published descriptions of most species are inadequate, making species-level identifications of specimens exceedingly difficult. As a result, the validity of most Aphonopelma species in Arizona is very much in question. The Aphonopelma fauna of Arizona, along with that of several other southwestern states, has received very little attention and current published research is virtually nonexistent; an unfortunate fact given the ecological diversity of this region and a concomitant potential for new, undescribed species. The county records above reflect only the limited published distributional data available (Chamberlin and Ivie, 1939; Chamberlin, 1940; Smith, 1995; Prentice, 1997). A significant amount of work needs to be conducted in Arizona to assess the taxonomic status and distribution of species across the state.

Literature Cited

Distribution of Tarantulas in the United States

September 9, 2010 1 comment

A total of 12 states in the United States contain published records of Aphonopelma species.  The eastern limit for Aphonopelma in this country is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain.  Some non-native tarantula species have been introduced into Florida.  No Aphonopelma species naturally occurs east of the Mississippi River.

Distribution of Tarantulas in Utah

Three tarantulas species are currently listed as occurring in Utah, Aphonpelma iodius, A. mojave, and A. zionis. Aphonopelma angusi and A. melanium were described from the state but were treated as synonyms of A. iodius by Prentice (1997).  The Aphonopelma fauna of Utah, along with that of several other southwestern states, has received very little attention and current published research is virtually nonexistent; an unfortunate fact given the ecological diversity of this region and a concomitant potential for new, undescribed species.  The county records above reflect only the limited published distributional data available (Chamberlin and Ivie, 1939; Chamberlin, 1940; Smith, 1995; Prentice, 1997).  A significant amount of work needs to be conducted in Utah to assess the taxonomic status and distribution of species across the state.

Literature Cited

Distribution of Tarantulas in Texas II

A total of 15 Aphonopelma species have been listed as occurring in Texas.  Given the size of the state, I am splitting it up into eastern and western halves to map published species records.  Eleven of these 15 species were treated in Distribution of Tarantulas in Texas I.  Please keep in mind that most of the Aphonopelma species known from the state are probably not valid taxa given the very inadequate taxonomy applied to describe them.  A significant amount of work needs to be conducted to accurately define what species actually occur in Texas.  County records were taken from Smith (1995) and are primarily indicative of locations from which type specimens were collected. 

The boundary box around the record for A. hentzi (B) represents the general location of specimens collected along the route of Randolph B. Marcy’s 1852 exploration of the Red River in Oklahoma and Texas (Marcy, 1854).  The type specimen for A. hentzi was taken by the expedition on May 17, 1852 in southwestern Oklahoma (Cotton County). Girard (1854) states that other specimens, which he also defined as A. hentzi, were later taken by Marcy’s party “on the 28th of June, near the head of south fork of Red river.”  That date places the expedition along the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado in the panhandle of northern Texas close to the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River.  This latter locality is the first published record of A. hentzi in Texas.

The male type of A. steindachneri (D) was reportedly collected from the Pecos River region of western Texas (Smith, 1995).  More precise geographical details are lacking regarding the collection site, hence the large boundary box. The status of this species as resident in Texas is unlikely given evidence presented by Prentice (1997).  That author found that the specimens upon which Ausserer (1875) based his description of A. steindachneri were likely taken from San Diego, California rather than Texas.

Literature Cited

Distribution of Tarantulas in California

 

 

 

 

A total of 18 Aphonopelma species have been listed as occurring in California.  County records were taken from Chamberlin (1940), Smith (1995), and Prentice (1997).  I removed the northern portion of the state as that area possesses no published Aphonopelma records. Most all of these species were described from very few individuals, often from just one sex (Prentice, 1997).  The majority of published species descriptions are inadequate, making species-level determinations of specimens virtually impossible.  As a result, the validity of most Aphonopelma species in California is very much in question.

Prentice (1997) assessed the status of several California Aphonopelma species and applied extremely rigorous taxonomic standards to the description of two new species, A. joshua and A. mojave.  He also treated A. angusi, A. melanium, and A. nevadanum as junior synonyms of A. iodius.  Prentice (1997) provides the foundation for our current understanding of the taxonomic problems surrounding the genus.

Literature Cited

Distribution of Tarantulas in Texas I

A total of 15 Aphonopelma species have been listed as occurring in Texas.  Given the size of the state, I am splitting it up into eastern and western halves to map published species records.  Please keep in mind that most of the Aphonopelma species known from the state are probably not valid taxa given the very inadequate taxonomy applied to describe them.  A significant amount of work needs to be conducted to accurately define what species actually occur in Texas.  County records were taken from Chamberlin and Ivie (1939), Chamberlin (1940), and Smith (1995) and are primarily indicative of locations from which type specimens were collected. 

Note that three different species have been described from the very tip of southern Texas in Cameron County.  Aphonopelma anax (A) and A. harlingenum (F) were described by Chamberlin (1940) while A. breenei (C) was described by Smith (1995).  The type locality, and only published record, for both A. breenei and A. harlingenum is Harlingen, Texas.  The type locality for A. anax is Kingsville, Texas in Kleberg County; just over 90 miles to the north of Cameron County.  Smith (1995) also lists a Cameron County record for A. anax.  Two species of Aphonopelma in the same city and three in the same county is a significant red flag that the taxonomy of these species is very questionable to say the least.  

Literature Cited

  • Chamberlin, R. V.  1940.  New American tarantulas of the family Aviculariidae.  Bulletin of the University of Utah 30:1-39.
  • Chamberlin, R.V. and W. Ivie. 1939. New tarantulas from the southwestern states. Bulletin of the University of Utah 29:1-17.
  • Smith, A. M.  1995.  Tarantula spiders: tarantulas of the U.S.A. and Mexico. Fitzgerald Publishing, London.

Distribution of Tarantulas in Oklahoma

Three Aphonopelma species have been described from Oklahoma, A. hentzi, A. odelli, and A. wichitanum.  The type localities for all three species are located in that state.

Blue dots in the map above represent county records for A. hentzi cited by Smith (1995) including the neotype and paratype from Garfield County that author designated for the species.

Green dots represent county records for A. odelli from Smith (1995).

The red dot in southwestern Oklahoma (Cotton County) is the type locality for A. hentzi from Girard (1854) and as further defined by Warriner (2008).  

The purple dot just above the type locality for A. hentzi is the type locality for A. wichitanum from, what is today, the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge (Chamberlin, 1940).  It is interesting to note that Smith (1995) also lists A. hentzi as occurring in that county as well. Given the current taxonomic state of the genus, A. wichitanum is probably yet another synonym of A. hentzi.  

Literature Cited

  • Chamberlin, R. V.  1940.  New American tarantulas of the family Aviculariidae.  Bulletin of the University of Utah 30:1-39.
  • Girard, C.  1854.  Arachnidians.   Pages 262-263 in Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852: with reports of the natural history of the country, with numerous illustrations (R.B. Marcy and G.B. McClellan, editors).  A.O.P. Nicholson, Washington, D.C.
  • Smith, A. M.  1995.  Tarantula spiders: tarantulas of the U.S.A. and Mexico. Fitzgerald Publishing, London.
  • Warriner, M.  2008.  Distribution and taxonomic status of tarantulas in Arkansas (Theraphosidae: Aphonopelma). Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 62:107-114.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.