Tarantulas in the Classroom

1981 The American history teacher  
Large, hairy spiders, such as the Huntsmen, Wolf, and Trapdoor spiders, have always captured the attention of arachnid enthusiasts and others as well; but none is as celebrated -as the tarantula. Most of the tarantulas native to the arid American Southwest belong to the genera, Avicularia, Dugesiella, or Aphonopelma; this group includes about thirty species. 'Tarantula," however, refers specifically to spiders of the genus, Lycosa, such as Lycosa tarantula, (the European Wolf Spider). The
more » ... Spider). The suspicion and fear surrounding these animals has been reinforced by Hollywood and folklore. Their bite, popularly believed to cause everything from agonizing death to 'tarantism" (the irresistable desire to dance) is actually no more harmful than a wasp sting to most humans. As with any animal bites, however, infection, hypeprallergy, and other side effects are possible. Similarly, the jumping abilities of the tarantula are often highly exaggerated, though some can pounce on nearby prey.
doi:10.2307/4447192 fatcat:hwsfx52ijretthdamprjzupqom