Sarah Holtzen

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Margaret Hanes

Second Advisor

Kristi Judd

Third Advisor

Marianne Laporte


There is a great deal of morphological and genetic species diversity on Earth that requires careful conservation. One such genetically diverse genus of tarantulas is that of Brachypelma. In this study, we employ a newer DNA fingerprinting technique known as Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR), to study the genetic variation among Brachypelma species and to determine if the invasive Brachypelma tarantula found in Florida B. vagans. Although B. vagans is a species protected under CITES Appendix II, this species has a wide distribution in Mexico and traits allowing for invasion to new habitats. It was hypothesized that the invasive tarantula in Florida is that of B. vagans and that it would be more closely related to samples from the Mexican populations as opposed to samples from the United States pet trade. DNA results showed that the specimen in Florida is in fact B. vagans , however, it is more closely related to its Mexican relatives. The ability of species to invade other non-endogenous habitats is an interesting phenomenon. It is not known how this species invasion of B. vagans will affect the natural Florida habitat and its native species.

Included in

Biology Commons