Tarantula reproduction, Theraphosids (tarantulas) of the World

Tarantula reproduction.

Reproduction of tarantula is a very complicated and follow to note is not enough studied for present moment. Young tarantulas of both sexes lead cognate lifestyle and practically do not differ in its behaviour.

Mature males are differ from females in lifestyle and their appearance. Males of many species are bright in color. They, as a rule, smaller in size, has pro rata more extended legs and other pedipalps morphology and also more active than females.

As a rule, the maturation in males approaches earlier than in females. The average period of male`s maturity approaches about 1.5 years, in females — not earlier than 2 (in some species this difference more disperses in time — 1.5 and 3 years, accordingly), so practically it is introduces that «related» breeding of tarantulas hatched from one eggsac in nature impossible. However this is possible in captivity under creation of different feeding and temperature modes for male and female.

Mature male spins so-called sperm-web before copulation, having, as a rule, specified form (see picture), on lower side of which he attach the drop of semen. The sperm is seized with the copulation apparatus whereupon male starts to searching for female. An this period his behaviour is straight opposite than of preceding life. He leads rambling lifestyle, highly active and can be noted moving even at day time, overcoming in searching for female rather significant distances (7-9 km per night (Shillington et al. 1997).

Finding the female occurs thanks to senses of touch mainly (a vision does not play a role in this process: tarantula with puttied eyes finds female without any problems) on smelling trace lefted by her on substratum or web near the burrow entrance (for example, female of Aphonopelma hentzi entwines a silken ball).

Finding female, male carefully entering inside female`s burrows. When meeting with female two variants of scenario are possible.

Under first variant, if female is not ready to mating, she will pay no attention to male or rapidly attack him, having drawn apart chelicerae and preparing to grasp him. In this case male have to hastily run back or, otherwise he can be perceived not as potential partner but became a «filling supper» or lose one or several limbs.

Under second variant female, as a rule, does not show to male no interest firstly. In this case male lowers his front part and raises abdomen, having extended onward placed forelegs and pedipalps, moving backward toward output from burrow, hereunder, attracting attention of female and as it were inviting her follow itself. From time to time he stops and moves forelegs and pedipalps that to the right, that to the left, shudderring with all body, that interest of female to him does not weaken, while they are not reach the burrow entering. Here, having a space for safe movements, it feels itself more certain.

Unlike other species of spiders, for which is characteristic a complex «marriage behaviour», concluding in performance of peculiar «wedding dances», for instance, species of families Araneidae, Salticidae, Lycosidae, or in offer to female the recently killed prey (beside Pisauridae), courtship of tarantulas comparatively more simple.

Male periodically carefully approaches to female, quickly touch her with its tips of front legs and pedipalps or/and «drums» on substratum. Usually it repeats this procedure with small breaks several times, until it will make sure in that behaviour of female does not present dangers for him and does not cause him any harm (before present moment there were no wide studies for finding of particularities typical of «marriage behaviour» of different species is organized).

If female so far passive, male will slowly approaches to her, undersea his front legs between her pedipalps and chelicerae, which female usually moves apart in the event of readiness to mating. Then he as abuts against it with his tibial hooks (spurs), to occupy a steady position and lift her prosoma stroking up from time to time the lower surface of her abdomen`s basis.

If female expresses readiness to mating (that also is display in frequent «drummimg» sound, producing by knocks with legs on substratum) he unwinds the pedipalps embolus and iserts it in female`s gonopore, which inheres at epigastric furrow. Such action a male produces with both of his pedipalp. This is strictly a moment of copulation, which lasts literally several seconds, after that male rapidly runs away because female usually immediately begins to pursue him.

Notwithstanding existing opinion that female often eats her partners after mating, in most cases does not occur (moreover, knowned events of eating the females by males) if there is enough place for him, to move away on significant distance, and the male able in a certain time to mate with several females. Often also female for one season mates with different males.

Fertization of eggs occurs in womb and within determined period after copulation occured (from 1 to 8 months), duration of which inheres in direct dependency from different conditions (seasonal, temperature, humidity/moisture, presence of food, period from female`s last molt etc.) and concrete species of tarantula, female lays eggs, entwined them in eggsac (cocoon). Whole this process occurs in dwelling camera of burrow, which changes in «nest». Eggsac, as a rule, consists in two parts, attached by its edges. First spins the basic part, then eggs laying upon it and finally it is plaited with roofing part. Some species (Avicularia spp., Theraphosa blondi) plate into cocoon walls their «urticating hairs» for its protections from possible enemies.

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Unlike majority of other spiders, female of tarantula protects eggsac and takes care of it, being turning it over periodically by chelicerae and pedipalps and also moving it depending on change of the conditions of humidity and temperature. There are determined difficulties with artificial incubation of eggs in home conditions are bound with it. But in many cases it is reasonable to artificially incubate eggsacs since cases of eating its by females are not rare in hobby as a result of «stress» caused by enxiety so as «on unknown reasons». To this effect amateurs from USA, Germany, England, Australia have developped an incubator, but some amateurs, withdrewing cocoons from females, take their «maternal» functions on itself, turning over cocoon manually several times a day (see also Breeding).

Interesting that for several species of tarantulas several facts of «double clutching» are reported (several eggsacs laying by female one after other within month or so): Hysterocrates spp., Stromatopelma spp., Holothele spp., Psalmopoeus spp., Tapinauchenius spp., Metriopelma spp., Pterinochilus spp. (Rick West, 2002), Ephebopus murinus и E. cyanognathus (Alex Hooijer, 2002), Poecilotheria regalis (Yan Evenow, 2002) and Haplopelma lividum. Herewith percent correlation of fertilized eggs vastly increases in repeated layings.

Amount of layed eggs is distinguished beside different species and is connected with female`s size, age, other factors. Record amount off eggs known for species Lasiodora parahybana and forms aproximately 2500! Opposite, beside small species does not exceed 30-60. Periods of incubation also different – from 0,8 till 4 months. Interesting that for arboreal tarantulas typical more short periods, than for terrestrals (see Table).


Tarantula spider. Tarantula spider lifestyle and habitat

Tarantulas — exotic animals. They require minimal care. Tarantula — Big Spidercovered with hairs. On Earth, there are 900 different species. Habitat — tropical and temperate latitudes: Central and South America, Asia, southern Europe, Australia. In the Russian Federation lives in the southern steppes.

Description and features of the tarantula

Type — arthropods, class — arachnids. The shaggy body consists of two parts: 1-head-chest, 2-abdomen, which are connected by a tube — the stalk. Head and chest covered with chitin; the abdomen, on the contrary, is soft and tender. The 8 eyes located above, resemble a periscope, help to see the terrain from all sides at once.

The tarantula paws are equipped with claws for additional grip when lifting, like a cat. In the wild, tarantulas usually move along an earthen surface, but sometimes they have to climb a tree or other object.

In case of a life threat, the tarantula with its hind legs peels off the hairs from its abdomen and throws them at the enemy (if this happens, irritation and itching are felt — an allergic reaction).

Of course, the tarantula itself suffers from such actions, since baldness will remain on the abdomen. At times of danger, they emit sounds that resemble the vibration of the teeth of a comb. They have excellent hearing. Recognize the sounds of human steps at a distance of 15 km.

Brown or black tarantulas with red spots and stripes. In nature, small, medium, large tarantulas. American spiders reach sizes up to 10 cm. Ours are much smaller than the overseas relatives: females -4.5 cm, males -2.5 cm.

A tarantula bite is not fatal to humans, but very painful

Minks dig to a depth of half a meter near ponds. Pebbles are cleaned. The interior of the dwelling closer to the entrance is entwined with cobwebs, the threads stretch deep, their vibration tells the tarantula about the events occurring above. In the cold season, the hole is deepened and the entrance is closed with webbed foliage.

Tarantula breeding and longevity

In the warm season, adults are busy looking for a couple. The males have a dull instinct for self-preservation, so they can be noticed even during the day. When she finds a female, she taps her legs on the ground, vibrates her abdomen and quickly moves her limbs, reports her presence.

If she takes courtship, repeats the movement for him. Further everything happens lightning fast. After the transfer of sperm, the male runs away so as not to be eaten by the female, because during this period she needs protein. Then the female falls asleep before spring in her mink.

In spring, it will come to the surface to expose the abdomen to the sun’s rays, then lay eggs (300-400 pcs.) In a woven web. Then it shifts into a cocoon and wears on itself.

As soon as the kids show signs of life, the mother will gnaw at the cocoon and help the spiders out. Babies will be placed on the body of their mother in a multilayer manner until they become independent. Then the mother will resettle the youth, gradually throwing herself off.

Tarantula Nutrition

Actively hunt at night. Large spiders catch mice, frogs, birds; small ones are insects. And they do it very carefully. Slowly creeps to the victim, then quickly jumps and bites. Large prey pursues for a long time.

The spider catches insects near its hole, does not go far, since it is attached to it by its own web. First, bite the victim, inject poison into him, dissolving the internal organs, then everything simply sucks.

Eats already inside. It also happens that a careless bug, cricket or grasshopper gets into the hole. If suddenly the web breaks, the spider does not find a way home, you have to make a new one.

What to do if bitten by a tarantula?

Tarantula bite for humans is not fatal. Symptoms resemble a wasp sting. First aid consists of washing the bite with soap and water, you need plenty of drink, and seek immediate medical attention. If you caught him, grease the bite with his own blood (the spider contains antidote in the blood) — this recipe is more suitable for travelers and tourists.

Interesting facts about tarantulas

Tarantulas are amazing animals. These are quite peaceful spiders, although large individuals are terrifying. It is worth taking a closer look at them. Live in captivity for more than 20 years, females longer than males.

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The largest representatives reach the size of a dinner plate (about 30 cm). They got a bad reputation from the directors undeservedly. Many people like to intimidate the population with horror films involving spiders.

In the photo, a rare blue tarantula

In fact, they are obedient and rarely bite. For such a large predator as humans, the poison will not be enough. The spider will most likely act reasonably and will not attack a large, dangerous object.

Tarantulas are easily injured creatures. They have very thin skin on their abdomen. Falling is deadly for him. Therefore, do not pick up the spider. They produce silk for their web. Females need silk in the «interior» of the hole to strengthen the walls, for males as packing material for storing eggs, traps near the mink are also made from silk.

Tarantulas grow all their lives, change their exoskeleton several times. Using this fact, they can recover lost limbs. If he lost his leg, the next molt he will receive it, as if by magic.

She may come out not quite the right size. It matters age, the time of the previous molt. But it doesn’t matter. The leg will grow with each molt, gradually acquiring the desired length.

Types of Tarantulas

Brazilian Jet Black — A Popular Home Spider. Impressive, pitch black, casts blue, which depends on the lighting, its dimensions are 6-7 cm. It is calm, elegant — and you can say, an obedient spider.

In the photo, a coal-black tarantula spider

Originally from southern Brazil. The climate is humid, frequent rains. In warm time (May-September), the temperature rises to 25 degrees, in cold weather it drops to 0 degrees. Due to slow growth, they grow up to only 7 years of life, live long, about 20 years. The cold period is spent in a hole, so the bottom of the terrarium is covered with a fairly thick layer of substrate (3-5 inches).

Suitable soil, peat, vermiculite. In nature tarantula dwells in forest litter near stones, it hides in the roots of trees, hollow logs thrown by rodent burrows, therefore shelters and depressions are needed in the substrate.

Small crickets are suitable for young individuals; large, other insects, small lizards, and naked mice are suitable for adults. For him, in a terrarium (10 gallons, not necessarily high), you should put a shallow container with water (a saucer will do). May starve for several months.

It is well known in Russia south russian tarantula. Its color is different: brown, brown, red. The habitat is the steppe and forest-steppe zone of the south, in recent years and the middle strip of Russia.

In the photo, the South Russian tarantula

-Apulean — a poisonous spider. In size, larger than ours. Distribution area — Europe.
— White-haired — the baby is cheaper, but due to good appetite it grows faster than other brothers.
— Chilean pink — pet stores most often offer it. The most beautiful and expensive Mexican scorched species is prohibited for export from natural habitats.
-Golden — a friendly creature, named so because of the bright colors of the huge legs, the sizes of which grow more than 20 cm. A new look and is expensive.

Pictured is a Chilean pink tarantula spider

-Costarican striped — difficult to care for, does not bite, but with a bad habit of disappearing.
-Afonopelma copper, now it is already possible to purchase, but not in the store, but by order.

Online stores provide an opportunity to see tarantulas in the photo and get acquainted with the prices.



Tarantulas are large, frequently hairy, spiders that fuel many people’s nightmares. Alternately, many people actually have tarantulas as pets! Some species can be quite docile and easily handled. Read on to learn about the tarantula.

Description of the Tarantula

Tarantulas have eight hairy legs, a cephalothorax, and an abdomen. The legs are attached to the cephalothorax, as are the eyes, the mouth, and the fangs. The spinnerets are at the very end of the abdomen, and are used for producing spider silk.

Interesting Facts About the Tarantula

Tarantulas really are more than meets the eye. They are menacing, but frequently harmless arachnids that have minimal mishaps with humans, considering the amount of human-spider interaction in the pet trade.

  • Spider Venom – Ok, we won’t sugar coat it, tarantula bites hurt. They have very large fangs that inject venom into anything that threatens them. That being said, to date no one has ever died from a tarantula bite. Most species have bites that are about as painful as a wasp sting, but the most dangerous aspect of tarantula bites is allergic reaction, rather than the actual venom.
  • That Urts! – New World tarantula species (those found in North and South America) are equipped with a unique defense system called urticating bristles. When threatened, the tarantula can throw barbed bristles at the potential threat. These bristles frequently get into the nose and mouth of the curious animal, irritating the sensitive skin and deterring predation.
  • Shedding Skin – Many a new tarantula owner has approached their animal’s habitat and seen, with great dismay, their beloved pet belly-up. Before mourning your tarantula, take a quick glance around the habitat, as tarantulas shed their entire exoskeleton in a process called “molting.” Young tarantulas molt frequently as they grow, and females continue to molt approximately once per year.
  • Bed & Breakfast – Some tarantula species fall prey to specific species of wasp rivals. These wasps will battle with the tarantula and attempt to deliver a paralyzing sting. If the wasp is successful, the tarantula will be paralyzed, dragged to the wasp’s tunnel, and she will lay her eggs in the tarantula’s body. When the young hatch from their living nest, they will eat their tarantula host. Ouch!

Habitat of the Tarantula

There are over 900 different species of tarantula that have been identified. With that many species, tarantulas inhabit a very wide range of habitats! Some tarantulas are arboreal, living in the treetops, and others live on or below the ground. They live in a wide variety of ecosystems, from rainforests to deserts.

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Distribution of the Tarantula

Different species of tarantula can be found in North, Central, and South America. They can also be found in Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Diet of the Tarantula

The diet of a tarantula depends largely on its size. Most tarantulas feed on insects, centipedes, and other spiders. They hunt by ambush, waiting for prey to come to them. Large species of tarantula have been known to kill and eat small snakes, birds, lizards, bats, and mice.

Tarantula and Human Interaction

While tarantulas may not injure humans very frequently, humans interact with tarantulas! Not all interactions are happy tarantulas with their human owners… In Venezuela and Cambodia tarantulas are considered a delicacy, and are frequently cooked over an open fire, or fried before eating.


Some species of tarantula have been semi-domesticated. Those that are kept as pets are selectively bred to be docile and survive well in captivity. Because we are selectively breeding tarantulas, they are sort of domesticated, but not entirely.

Does the Tarantula Make a Good Pet

Some species of tarantula can make good pets, but only for the right type of person. Tarantulas have a fragile exoskeleton, so they should only be handled by those who will not accidentally drop them.

Tarantula Care

Your tarantula should be kept in a 5-10 gallon terrarium with a screened top. Your tarantula should have a clean substrate in the bottom of the terrarium, the depth of which will vary based on the species. You must also provide your tarantula with a location to easily hide, and a shallow water dish. They must be provided with a heat source as well, a heating pad under half the terrarium is commonly used. Your tarantula can be fed crickets and other insects.

Behavior of the Tarantula

Tarantulas spend most of their time foraging for food and hiding from potential predators. Like most spiders, tarantulas are solitary creatures and will live alone until it comes time to reproduce.

Reproduction of the Tarantula

Male tarantulas create a silken mat, and deposit a pool of semen onto the mat. The male will then dip his pedipalps (small leg-like appendages near the fangs) into the pool to absorb the semen and keep it viable. Once he courts a female, the male will insert his pedipalps into the female’s abdominal opening.

The female will then lay 50-2,000 eggs in a spun silk egg sack. She will turn the egg sack to keep the eggs viable, and will guard them until they hatch. Once the eggs hatch, the young disperse to live on their own.


The Life Cycle of a Spider

All Spiders Go Through Three Stages as They Mature

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

All spiders, from the tiniest jumping spider to the largest tarantula, have the same general life cycle. They mature in three stages: egg, spiderling, and adult. Though the details of each stage vary from one species to another, they are all very similar.

The spider mating ritual also varies and males must approach a female carefully or he may be mistaken for prey. Even after mating, many male spiders will die though the female is very independent and will care for her eggs on her own. Despite the rumors, the majority of female spiders do not eat their mates.

Egg, the Embryonic Stage

After mating, female spiders store sperm until they are ready to produce eggs. The mother spider first constructs an egg sac from strong silk that is tough enough to protect her developing offspring from the elements. She then deposits her eggs inside it, fertilizing them as they emerge. A single egg sac may contain just a few eggs, or several hundred, depending on the species.

Spider eggs generally take a few weeks to hatch. Some spiders in temperate regions will overwinter in the egg sac and emerge in spring. In many spider species, the mother guards the egg sac from predators until the young hatch. Other species will place the sac in a secure location and leave the eggs to their own fate.

Wolf spider mothers carry the egg sac with them. When they’re ready to hatch, they will bite the sac open and free the spiderlings. Also unique to this species, the young spend as many as ten days hanging onto their mother’s back.

Spiderling, the Immature Stage

Immature spiders, called spiderlings, resemble their parents but are considerably smaller when they first hatch from the egg sac. They immediately disperse, some by walking and others by a behavior called ballooning.

Spiderlings that disperse by ballooning will climb onto a twig or other projecting object and raise their abdomens. They release threads of silk from their spinnerets, letting the silk catch the wind and carry them away. While most spiderlings travel short distances this way, some can be carried to remarkable heights and across long distances.

The spiderlings will molt repeatedly as they grow larger and they’re very vulnerable until the new exoskeleton forms completely. Most species reach adulthood after five to 10 molts. In some species, the male spiders will be fully mature as they exit the sac. Female spiders are always larger than males, so often take more time to mature.

Adult, the Sexually Mature Stage

When the spider reaches adulthood, it is ready to mate and begin the life cycle all over again. In general, female spiders live longer than males; males often die after mating. Spiders usually live just one to two years, though this does vary by species.

Tarantulas have unusually long life spans. Some female tarantulas live 20 years or more. Tarantulas also continue molting after reaching adulthood. If the female tarantula molts after mating, she will need to mate again, because she sheds the sperm storage structure along with her exoskeleton.


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