Multiple tarantula deaths for a wholesale breeder were reported in 2018. The breeder noticed white discharge in the oral cavities of the tarantulas. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the white discharge was a large group of nematodes intertwined inside the tarantula's oral cavity. We examined the nematodes and propose a new species, Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi n. sp., in the currently monotypic genus Tarantobelus based on a combination of morphological and morphometrical data and unique nuclear rDNA 28S and 18S sequences. Based on phylogenetic analyses, the previously described Tarantobelus arachnicida was relocated, along with T. jeffdanielsi, into the family Panagrolaimidae. We also provide evidence of the ability of T. jeffdanielsi to parasitize Galleria mellonella larvae and the tarantula Grammostola pulchra. The life span and fecundity of the new species were also assessed, resulting in an 11.2-d average life span, and a total fertility rate of 158 nematodes/adult.
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Vol. 108 • No. 1