tarantula


ta·ran·tu·la

noun \tə-ˈran-chə-lə, -tə-lə; -ˈranch-lə, -ˈrant-\

: a large, hairy spider that lives in warm regions

plural ta·ran·tu·las also ta·ran·tu·lae \-ˌlē\

Full Definition of TARANTULA

1
:  a European wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) popularly held to be the cause of tarantism
2
:  any of a family (Theraphosidae) of large hairy American spiders that are typically rather sluggish and capable of biting sharply though most forms are not significantly poisonous to humans

Origin of TARANTULA

Medieval Latin, from Old Italian tarantola, from Taranto
First Known Use: 1561

ta·ran·tu·la

noun \tə-ˈranch-(ə-)lə, -ˈrant-əl-ə\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural ta·ran·tu·las also ta·ran·tu·lae \-ˈran-chə-ˌlē, -ˈrant-əl-ˌē\

Medical Definition of TARANTULA

1
: a European spider (Lycosa tarentula of the family Lycosidae) popularly held to be the cause of tarantism
2
: any of a family (Theraphosidae) of large hairy American spiders that are typically rather sluggish and capable of biting sharply though most forms are not significantly poisonous to humans

Illustration of TARANTULA

tarantula

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Mexican red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smithii).—Lynam/Tom Stack & Associates

Name that originally referred to the wolf spider but now covers any spider in the family Theraphosidae. It is found from the southwestern U.S. to South America. Many species live in a burrow, and most have a hairy body and long, hairy legs. They are nocturnal predators of insects and, occasionally, amphibians and mice. Certain South American tarantulas eat small birds. In the southwestern U.S., tarantulas of the genus Aphonopelma may have a body 2 in. (5 cm) long and a leg spread of nearly 5 in. (12 cm). They may inflict a painful bite if provoked. The most common U.S. species, Eurypelma californicum, may live up to 30 years.

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