Tarantulas are found primarily in tropical and desert territories throughout the world. In the United States alone, about 30 species have been identified. Tarantulas exist in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and California. Although tarantulas are not native to Florida, several species have been introduced due to pet trade and importation. As such, tarantula numbers are closely monitored, and tarantula sightings are placed on official records. The effects of these tarantulas on native wildlife have yet to be completely realized.
The most recognized tarantula in Florida is the Brachypelma vagans. Originally of Mexican origin, these tarantulas are believed to have entered Florida in the 1980s, although official identification did not occur until 1998. Also commonly known as Mexican red rumps, these arachnids are black with red abdomens. While painful, their bites are not fatal to humans.