Aphonopelma taxonomy

Brent H.

Old Timer
Nov 21, 2005
Hi folks -

I have been lurking on these boards for a while, but it seems appropriate to introduce myself and discuss some matters that I think are important to us all.

First of all, I am just over a year removed from earning my PhD in Biology at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. I studied mygalomorph systematics and evolution under the supervision of Dr. Jason Bond. My dissertation research focused on the folding-door spiders in the genus Antrodiaetus, but my passion has always been Aphonopelma. I have stayed at ECU to work as a postdoctoral research associate, and continue to work on mygalomorphs.

For those that attended past ATS conferences and for others who have been monitoring some of the threads at the ATS site, hopefully you know that I have started working up some preliminary data to begin tackling some of the taxonomic issues in Aphonopelma. Over the past week, I have collected DNA sequence data from approximately 60 specimens (and I have several more sequencing at this very moment). The preliminary results are interesting (I am not at liberty to discuss them right now), but as expected, they're generating more questions than answers.

I am coming here to ask for your help. I am in need of WC specimens with accurate locality information to continue generating data on this genus. I am in need of everything, even A. hentzi. I need to have solid preliminary data by October/November because Dr. Bond and I want to submit a grant to do all of this "for real" by early January. Granting agencies want to see promising preliminary data so they can see that the work is feasible, so the more data I have at my disposal, the better!

Theraphosid taxonomy in general is a mess, and sadly, there are few properly trained individuals in academic positions to work on these marvelous spiders. I am in a fantastic position right now to begin working on these spiders, particularly the ones "close to home", using modern taxonomic techniques (there is only one published paper that has made use of DNA sequence data for theraphosid taxonomy). This work is labor-intensive and is NOT cheap, so all the help I can get to obtain specimens is of utmost importance.

If you would be interested in helping me out, please contact me via email, PM, or through this thread.

Thanks to everybody that has already helped, and thanks to those that are considering helping!


Old Timer
Jun 27, 2007
That sounds awesome ! I am new to T's but have taken some interest in some of the American Aphonopelma.I currently have a hentzi, and am planing to get at least one more spider of this type.I hope someone is able to help you,from what I have read here more research needs to be done.

Martin H.

Old Timer
Sep 1, 2002
Hello Brent,

are you in touch with Dave Moellendorf?

all the best,