Tarantula Anatomy Diagram

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Tarantula Anatomy Diagram

The basic external anatomy of a tarantula.
The basic external anatomy of a tarantula. Wikimedia Commons, user Cerre (CC license). Modified by Debbie Hadley, WILD Jersey.

Identifying tarantulas (Family Theraphosidae) requires some knowledge of their external morphology. This diagram outlines the basic anatomy of a tarantula.


  1. opisthosoma - the rear section of the body, sometimes referred to as the abdomen. The opisthosoma houses the book lungs and the heart internally, and the spinnerets externally. The opisthosoma can expand and contract to accommodate food or eggs.
  2. prosoma - the front section of the body, sometimes referred to as the cephalothorax. The dorsal surface of the prosoma is protected by the carapace. The legs, fangs, and pedipalps all extend from the prosoma region.
  3. pedicel - an hour-glass shaped constriction that separates the two body sections. The pedicel is actually part of the opisthosoma.
  4. carapace - a shield-like plate that covers the dorsal surface of the prosoma region.
  5. fovea - a dimple on the dorsal surface of the prosoma, which is an attachment point for the stomach muscles internally. The fovea is also known as the central apodeme.
  6. ocular tubercle - a small mound on the dorsal surface of the prosoma which contains the tarantula's eyes.
  7. chelicerae - the fangs, used for envenomating prey.
  8. pedipalps - sensory appendages. Although they look somewhat like shorter legs, the pedipalps have just one claw each (tarantula legs have two claws each). In males, the pedipalps are used for sperm transfer.
  9. leg - one of the tarantula's eight legs, each with two claws on the tarsus (foot).
  10. spinnerets - silk-producing structures



  • The Tarantula Keeper's Guide: Comprehensive Information on Care, Housing, and Feeding, by Stanley A. Schultz, Marguerite J. Schultz

  • The Natural History of Tarantulas, British Tarantula Society website. Accessed online December 27, 2013.

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Hadley, Debbie. "Tarantula Anatomy Diagram." ThoughtCo, Jan. 7, 2014, thoughtco.com/tarantula-anatomy-diagram-1968567. Hadley, Debbie. (2014, January 7). Tarantula Anatomy Diagram. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tarantula-anatomy-diagram-1968567 Hadley, Debbie. "Tarantula Anatomy Diagram." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tarantula-anatomy-diagram-1968567 (accessed May 26, 2018).