tarantula

2 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Tarantula \Ta*ran"tu*la\, noun; pl. E. {Tarantulas}, L. {Tarantulae}. [NL., fr. It. tarantola, fr. L. Tarentum, now Taranto, in the south of Italy.] (Zool.) Any one of several species of large spiders, popularly supposed to be very venomous, especially the European species ({Tarantula apuliae}). The tarantulas of Texas and adjacent countries are large species of Mygale. [Written also {tarentula}.]

{Tarantula killer}, a very large wasp ({Pompilus formosus}), which captures the Texan tarantula ({Mygale Hentzii}) and places it in its nest as food for its young, after paralyzing it by a sting.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

tarantula

noun

1: large southern European spider once thought to be the cause of tarantism (uncontrollable bodily movement) [syn: {European wolf spider}, {tarantula}, {Lycosa tarentula}]

2: large hairy tropical spider with fangs that can inflict painful but not highly venomous bites

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