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The Metal Arboreal Tarantula, or Metallica (Latin Poecilotheria Metallica), is one of the most impressive representatives of the Theraphosidae family. It tolerates well being kept in captivity and is very popular among lovers of exotic animals because of its bright appearance.

In the US, an adult female can cost up to $ 500. Such a high price is due to the rarity of the species and the complexity of its reproduction at home. It is not recommended for novice amateurs to take up the cultivation of such a pet. Its poison is very strong and causes unbearable pain at the site of the bite, lasting from a week to a month. In the victims, the work of the cardiovascular system is disrupted, the pulse quickens, sweating, dizziness, muscle cramps, and tumors appear. No deaths have yet been officially registered.

Appearance

The average length of adult spiders is about 52 mm. The cephalothorax is approximately 23 mm long and 20 mm wide. The length of the limbs reaches 37-68 mm. The main background of the color is brown, gray, or blackish, but in bright light, it acquires a strong blue or blue tint with a shine of metal, which is most intense immediately after molting. In old animals, shortly before molting, it remains only on the legs. Juveniles are usually gray or black with no blue tint.Metal Arboreal Tarantula

On the upper side of the opisthosoma, there is a white or yellowish leaf-shaped spot, from which patterns resembling a tiger or bee color depart. In the middle there is a dark line, in older females it is intermittent. The lower part of the opisthosoma is chocolate brown. The dorsal shield has a violin-like stain with dark or black edges.

Legs and toes are darker than other parts of the body. Legs (tibia) have yellow-orange spots. The life span of male Poecilotheria Metallica does not exceed 4 years. Females live up to 10-15 years.

Habitat

Poecilotheria Metallica is found only in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India in the vicinity of the cities of Nandyal and Giddaluru. The total area of ​​its area does not exceed 100 square kilometers. The animal was first discovered in the bungalow of a railway engineer on the northwest line of the Madras Railroad in the town of Guti, a hundred miles from its habitat. Presumably, it got there after traveling by train. In the future, he was never found in this area again.

The captured specimen was described in 1899 by the British arachnologist Reginald Pouckie. For a long time, the species was considered extinct, until 102 years later it was found again in the jungle by Canadian zoologist Rick West and British naturalist Andrew Smith. The local population calls it a Blue Spider.

Behavior and Temperament

Blue Spiders inhabit the dry tropical forests of Southeast India, located at an altitude of 500 to 1000 m above sea level. In their habitat, there are sharp changes in climatic conditions. During the monsoons, there is a moderate temperature of about 25 ° C and high humidity, in the rest of the year it is dry and hot. In front of them, the air often warms up to 50 ° C.Metal Arboreal Tarantula , Poecilotheria Metallica: Species Profile 5

Spiders are solitary. They live on tall, old deciduous trees and hide in the hollows and cracks of tree bark during the day, building aerial nests from sticky cobwebs. The population density is very low. Arachnids are usually found at a distance of more than 50 m from each other. They hunt exclusively at night. Their diet consists of various insects, small reptiles, and frogs living in trees near their hiding place. The Blue Spider rarely descends to the soil surface, mainly only at an early age. Cannibalism is common among representatives of this species, so they try to stay with their fellow tribesmen at a respectful distance. At the moment of danger, they try to hide by flight. Furry handsome men are running very briskly. If the escape routes are cut off, then the fugitives themselves rush at the offender and mercilessly bite him. Sometimes they apply “dry bites” without injecting venom.

Reproduction

Mature Poecilotheria Metallica molts in June when the southwest monsoon begins. Wet air masses come to the continent from the Indian Ocean, bringing with it the rainy season that lasts until September. After the end of the molt, blue spiders begin to reproduce. Unlike many other arachnids, mating in them is relatively peaceful. In most cases, females do not show aggression towards males. 2-3 months after fertilization, the female weaves a cocoon in which she lays from 100 to 150 eggs. Larvae hatch in February. They display obvious cannibalistic tendencies and eat their weaker brethren. In April and May, before the start of the monsoon, the larvae turn into nymphs and remain under the care of the mother until the beginning of July. By this time, they can already take care of themselves, so they scatter in different directions. Spiders descend to the ground and build burrows in the disgraced foliage, where they hide at the slightest danger. Having strengthened, they move to the trees. The abundance of food in the summer contributes to their rapid development.

It is difficult to breed tarantula spiders at home, but if it does work out, do not keep the spiders together after they are born. They can eat each other. In the process of mating, problems are also not uncommon. The female and the male can attack each other and, if not kill, then injure each other. The spider lays eggs in a cocoon. This is the very moment when the tarantula spider finally needs its web. The spider weaves a cocoon from her web. Another point where cobwebs are used is to reinforce the walls of the burrow. But if you don’t feed the spider in time or even just make it angry, she can easily eat her own, albeit future children right in the cocoon. She can eat them even if the temperature or humidity conditions are violated or when the masonry begins to rot. For 6-7 weeks, the spider will guard her cocoons, occasionally turning them over. During this period, she is very aggressive, be careful. If you’re lucky and everything goes smoothly – nymphs will hatch from the eggs – they have the shape of an egg, only with legs. After two molts, the nymphs become larvae. Both the larvae and nymphs cannot yet feed on their own, they eat what is in the egg, so they can still be in the same terrarium. When a real spider hatches from the larva, it should be planted immediately, otherwise, it may eat its siblings that have not yet hatched.

Housing the Poecilotheria MetallicaPoecilotheria Metallica

For one adult blue spider, a spacious vertical terrarium with a minimum volume of 30x30x40 cm is required. He should be given the opportunity to climb on wooden devices and hide in shelters without problems. This pet has a shy nature and should be set up in a quiet place. During the day, the temperature is maintained at 27 ° -29 ° С, and at night it drops to 26 ° -25 ° С. To maintain the humidity around 75-80%, it is recommended to spray the walls of the enclosure daily with warm water from a spray bottle. It is imperative to install a drinking bowl and have good ventilation.

The terrarium is cleaned with warm water. The use of detergents is dangerous for your pet’s health. At the bottom, they put soil for flower plants, humus, peat, or coconut substrate 5-6 cm thick. In order to avoid infectious diseases, they must be renewed at least once a quarter.

Food and Water

Adult animals are fed 1-2 times a week, and juveniles twice as often. In captivity, Petsilotheria Metallica eats well crickets, cockroaches, and grasshoppers. Drinking water should be changed every day. Also, uneaten food should be removed daily.

Remember that feeding the tarantula spider what you eat – meat or fish is not recommended. A terrible predator, a poisonous bird spider from such a “human” food can die. And one more rule – live “food” for a tarantula spider should be half the size of the spider itself. It happens that spiders do not eat cockroaches or any of the other foods listed above at all. You will have to take turns offering him frogs, mice, or bloodworms until he “agrees” to something specific and builds his weekly diet on this. Metal Arboreal Tarantula , Poecilotheria Metallica: Species Profile 6

In terms of the digestive system, tarantula spiders have a peculiarity – they are able to go on a “hunger strike” and in some cases do not eat for two years and still not die. Their digestion is also unusual. They digest their food, not inside themselves, but outside, injecting their gastric juice into the victim’s body after the poison and waiting for it to be digested with it. And only in this way the tarantula spider eats the digested food thoroughly and for a long time (within a couple of days). Then he drinks it with water.

The frequency of feeding the spider is 1-2 times a week. Don’t panic if the spider refuses to eat – this is normal. Don’t overfeed. The satiety of the spider is noticeable by its “full belly”. When you see that the belly has increased two to three times than before feeding, stop, otherwise, his belly will simply burst. Occasionally, spiders themselves make it clear that they are full – they simply do not pay more attention to the food. In this case, you need to remove the remnants of the feed so that they do not start to rot.

 

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