Thrixopelma pruriens

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Peruvian green velvet tarantula
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Thrixopelma
T. pruriens
Binomial name
Thrixopelma pruriens
Schmidt, 1998 [1]

Thrixopelma pruriens, known as the Peruvian green velvet tarantula, [2] is a species of tarantula found in Chile in South America (not Peru). [1] [3]

Though docile, this species is rarely kept as a pet in part due to its tendency to fling urticating hairs with minimal provocation. [4]

In 2014, researchers at Yale University identified a protein from the tarantula's toxin that shows promise as a new painkiller drug. [5] The protein reduces activity in an ion pump associated with inflammation and neuropathic pain, making it potentially suitable as a treatment for both normal pain and pathological pain syndromes. [6] [2]

Related Research Articles

Venom Toxin secreted by an animal

Venom is a type of poison, especially one secreted by an animal. Venom has evolved in a wide variety of animals, both predators and prey, and both vertebrates and invertebrates.

Mutillidae Family of wasps

The Mutillidae are a family of more than 7,000 species of wasps whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair, which most often is bright scarlet or orange, but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Their bright colors serve as aposematic signals. They are known for their extremely painful stings,, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. However, mutillids are not aggressive and sting only in defense. In addition, the actual toxicity of their venom is much lower than that of honey bees or harvester ants. Unlike true ants, they are solitary, and lack complex social systems.

Tarantula hawk

A tarantula hawk is a spider wasp (Pompilidae) that preys on tarantulas. Tarantula hawks belong to any of the many species in the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis. They are one of the largest parasitoid wasps, using their sting to paralyze their prey before dragging it to a brood nest as living food; a single egg is laid on the prey, hatching to a larva which eats the still-living prey.

Spider wasp

Wasps in the family Pompilidae are commonly called spider wasps, spider-hunting wasps, or pompilid wasps. The family is cosmopolitan, with some 5,000 species in six subfamilies. Nearly all species are solitary, and most capture and paralyze prey, though members of the subfamily Ceropalinae are kleptoparasites of other pompilids, or ectoparasitoids of living spiders.

Schmidt sting pain index Pain scale for insect stings

The Schmidt sting pain index is a pain scale rating the relative pain caused by different hymenopteran stings. It is mainly the work of Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Arizona, United States. Schmidt has published a number of papers on the subject, and claims to have been stung by the majority of stinging Hymenoptera.

<i>Mucuna pruriens</i>

Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and widely naturalized and cultivated. Its English common names include monkey tamarind, velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean. The plant is notorious for the extreme itchiness it produces on contact, particularly with the young foliage and the seed pods. It has agricultural and horticultural value and is used in herbalism.

<i>Selenocosmia crassipes</i> Species of spider

Selenocosmia crassipes, synonym Phlogius crassipes, also known as the "Queensland whistling tarantula" is a species of tarantula native to the east coast of Queensland, Australia. The name "whistling tarantula" comes from its ability to produce a hissing noise when provoked, a trait it shares with other Australian theraphosids. This hissing is produced by the spider stridulating a patch of setae associated with its chelicerae. It has also been called the "eastern tarantula". The species name crassipes is Latin for "fat leg" referring to the relatively fat front legs.

<i>Poecilotheria metallica</i> Species of spider

Poecilotheria metallica, also known as the Gooty sapphire ornamental, is an Old World species of tarantula. It is the only blue species of the genus Poecilotheria. Like others in its genus it exhibits an intricate fractal-like pattern on the abdomen. The species' natural habitat is deciduous forest in Andhra Pradesh, in central southern India. It has been classified as Critically endangered by the IUCN.

<i>Poecilotheria regalis</i> Species of arachnid

Poecilotheria regalis is a species of arboreal tarantula and is found in parts of India. The common name for this spider is Indian ornamental tree spider, or simply Indian ornamental. It is one of the most popular arboreal tarantulas for amateur collectors. Their leg span sometimes exceeds 7 inches (18 cm).

Tarantula Family of spiders

Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often ″hairy″ spiders of the family Theraphosidae. Currently, about 1,000 species have been identified. The term tarantula is usually used to describe members of the family Theraphosidae, although many other members of the same infraorder (Mygalomorphae) are commonly referred to as "tarantulas" or "false tarantulas". Some of the more common species have become popular in the exotic pet trade. Many New World species kept as pets have urticating hairs that can cause irritation to the skin, and in extreme cases, cause damage to the eyes.


Psalmotoxin (PcTx1) is a spider toxin from the venom of the Trinidad tarantula Psalmopoeus cambridgei. It selectively blocks Acid Sensing Ion Channel 1-a (ASIC1a), which is a proton-gated sodium channel.

<i>Cyriopagopus albostriatus</i> Species of spider

Cyriopagopus albostriatus, commonly known as Thailand zebra leg tarantula, is a species of spider in the family Theraphosidae, found in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Cysteine-rich secretory protein

Cysteine-rich secretory proteins, often abbreviated as CRISPs, are a group of glycoproteins. They are a subgroup of the CRISP, antigen 5 and Pr-1 (CAP) protein superfamily and also contain a domain related to the ShK toxins. They are substantially implicated in the functioning of the mammalian reproductive system. CRISPs are also found in a variety of snake venoms where they inhibit both smooth muscle contraction and cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels.


Vanillotoxins are neurotoxins found in the venom of the tarantula Psalmopoeus cambridgei. They act as agonists for the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), activating the pain sensory system. VaTx1 and 2 also act as antagonists for the Kv2-type voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv2), inducing paralytic behavior in small animals.

Hanatoxin is a toxin found in the venom of the Grammostola spatulata tarantula. The toxin is mostly known for inhibiting the activation of voltage-gated potassium channels, most specifically Kv4.2 and Kv2.1, by raising its activation threshold.


Mambalgins are peptides found in the venom of the black mamba, an elapid snake. Mambalgins are members of the three-finger toxin (3FTx) protein family and have the characteristic three-finger protein fold. First reported by French researchers in 2012, mambalgins are unusual members of the 3FTx family in that they have the in vivo effect of causing analgesia without apparent toxicity. Their mechanism of action is potent inhibition of acid-sensing ion channels.

<i>Thrixopelma</i> Genus of spiders

Thrixopelma is a genus of South American tarantulas that was first described by Günter E. W. Schmidt in 1994.

<i>Pepsis grossa</i>

Pepsis grossa is a very large species of pepsine spider wasp from the southern part of North America, south to northern South America. It preys on tarantula spiders, giving rise to the name tarantula hawk for the wasps in the genus Pepsis and the related Hemipepsis. Only the females hunt, so only they are capable of delivering a sting, which is considered the second most painful of any insect sting; scoring 4.0 on the Schmidt sting pain index compared to the bullet ant's 4.0+. It is the state insect of New Mexico. The colour morphs are the xanthic orange-winged form and the melanic black winged form. In northern South America, a third form, known as "lygamorphic", has a dark base to the wings which have dark amber median patches and a pale tip.

Protoxin-II, also known as ProTx-II, PT-II or β/ω-TRTX-Tp2a, is a neurotoxin that inhibits certain voltage-gated calcium and voltage-gated sodium channels. This toxin is a 30-residue disulfide-rich peptide that has unusually high affinity and selectivity toward the human Nav1.7. channel.


  1. 1 2 "Taxon details Thrixopelma pruriens Schmidt, 1998". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  2. 1 2 Gui, Junhong; Liu, Boyi; Cao, Guan; Lipchik, Andrew M.; Perez, Minervo; Dekan, Zoltan; Mobli, Mehdi; Daly, Norelle L.; Alewood, Paul F.; Parker, Laurie L.; King, Glenn F.; Zhou, Yufeng; Jordt, Sven-Eric & Nitabach, Michael N. (2014). "A Tarantula-Venom Peptide Antagonizes the TRPA1 Nociceptor Ion Channel by Binding to the S1–S4 Gating Domain". Current Biology. 24 (5): 473–483. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.013. PMC   3949122 . PMID   24530065.
  3. Schmidt, G. (2003). Die Vogelspinnen: Eine weltweite Übersicht. Hohenwarsleben: Neue Brehm-Bücherei. p. 191.
  4. "Thrixopelma-puriens-care-sheet". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  5. Hathaway, Bill (2014-02-13). "YaleNews | Within tarantula venom, new hope for safe and novel painkillers found". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  6. "The Peruvian Green Velvet Tarantula's Gift". The New York Times . 17 February 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.