Striped-knee Tarantula, A.K.A. Zebra knee Tarantula (Aphonopelma seemanni)

The Striped-knee is covered with hairs which are extra-sensory devices for spiders, helping them to sense
vibrations, grip when climbing, or to irritate something (or someone) that has harassed them by flicking their abdominal hairs. Among its interesting facts: This spider can secrete silk from its feet creating an adhesive to allow it to climb smooth surfaces. These spiders do not tend to be aggressive but they do tend to quickly flee rather than defensively posture. While all tarantulas have venom, contrary to popular belief, it is almost never dangerous to humans.

Look for this spider in our “Bug House” near the New England Farmyard.


Most varieties tend to be brown with tan vertical stripes on the legs between the joints. Costa Rican specimens are black with white vertical stripes on the on the legs between the joints. All varieties have orange spinnerets on the rear which extrude silk from glands in the abdomen. Spiders have 8 eyes (2 sets of four) on the top of their cephalothoraxes (prosoma) on the front end (the head area) above the chelicerae. The chelicerae are modified into fangs that inject venom to subdue the spider’s prey.


Forests (deciduous, sub-tropical, tropical).


Southwest United States, Mexico and Central America.


In the wild: Insects, worms, small mammals and amphibians. In captivity: Insects such as crickets and mealworms and occasionally pinkie mice.

Life Span: 

15-20 years (females), 3-5 years (males)

Family Life: 

Females lay between 100-400 eggs which will hatch within approximately 2 months.


According to IUCN, this animal is listed as Least Concern.

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