Tarantula Mating Season Weaves a Web of Intrigue at Oklahoma State University

KOKH - September 19, 2023 6:52 am

Tarantula mating season runs now through October, so Oklahomans might see more tarantulas on the move. (Oklahoma State University)

As tarantula mating season heats up, now is a good time to visit the furry arachnids at Oklahoma State University’s Insect Adventure.

Tarantulas may be spotted more in the wild over the next two months, as males go on the prowl for a mate.

When large numbers of tarantulas are seen, people typically think they are migrating. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The truth is male tarantulas are moving around this time of year in the quest for a mate. Mating season is determined by temperature and microclimates,” said Andrine Shufran, OSU Extension specialist and director of OSU’s Insect Adventure. “It can be earlier or later because the males are waiting on the right situation and cues to get on the move, but typically mating season is from late August through October.”

During mating season, which runs from late August through October, females stick close to their burrow and emit a pheromone to attract males.

Females will then mate and lay around 350 eggs in an egg sack in the burrow.

Although their venom is toxic to small animals, it’s not harmful to humans. Shufran said if you’re bit, it may hurt, but you don’t need to contact Poison Control or go to the ER.

OSU shared some interesting facts about tarantulas:

  • They can go more than a year without feeding due to very low metabolism.
  • Despite having eight eyes that appear as a single spot on the top of its head, tarantulas have poor eyesight.
  • Females lay between 300 and 350 eggs during the mating season.
  • There is only one species of tarantula in Oklahoma – the Oklahoma brown tarantula.
  • Tarantulas spin silk just like all other spiders.
  • There are about 1,200 named species of tarantulas worldwide, compared to 400,000 named species of beetles.
  • Tarantulas are good predators and eat aphids and caterpillars.
  • Female tarantulas can live up to 40 years.

The Insect Adventure at OSU has been home to more than 1,000 tarantulas over the years. If you want to learn more about them and insects, you can plan a visit.

 

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