The insects, arachnids and myriapods pictures thread

“Leave me alone, dirty glowing orange beast!”

The other two were on my doorstep when I got home from work tapping their legs and waiting to be let in.

Enthusiastic Seeker of Novelty aka “Novelty” is a Martinque pinktoe (Caribina versicolor). She was actually a freebie that came with my order and is about twice the size that I expected. I have so far not been successful at transferring a spider from shipping cup to enclosure without them escaping. Luckily I’m smart enough to do the whole operation in a box that I can close and then use a catch cup to contain the spider. She’s gorgeous! And is now my largest spider at 2 1/2" to 3" tip to tip.

And the spider I actually ordered is a male Mexican red-knee (Brachypelmi smithii) whom I’ve named Nezahualcóyotl aka “Coyote”. My hand for size reference.


So is Victory Smith afraid of her food? Is that what’s going on in that video?

Just skittish in a new enclosure I think. Not much longer after that the roach had disappeared and the spider has been hiding out under a leaf ever since so Ithink she got over her fear :)

Mother of Learning!!

Nezahualcòyotl looks surreal.

She’s still been hiding out under that leaf and hasn’t come out since yesterday, but I dropped a roach in front of her tonight and she instantly nabbed it and pulled it back under the leaf, so yeah, she’s over her fear :)

Yeah he’s pretty awesome. I had intended to put him in an adult spider enclosure but it’s really too big for him so he’s in a small translucent tupperware thing. It’s fine and he has plenty of room, but I’d like something clearer so I don’t have to take the top off to get a good photo like I did for that photo.

Yup, I had to have an Aranea and Novelty is my favorite. :)

I used to have a greenbottle blue. Their adult coloring is so pretty.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to that, and I gather they’re really great terrestrial webbers, which seems cool.

Here’s my tarantula eating. (The white blob behind her is dried hot glue.) Apparently it’s very common for them to turn a circle while eating and spin web while doing it. It’s unknown exactly why. Maybe they’re setting up a trip wire to protect them while vulnerable? She lifts her pedipalps for a great view of her fangs as she turns through 12 o’clock.

I realize I don’t even know: How do tarantulas use webbing? Other than mysterious feeding rituals…

Apparently all spiders spin silk. Tarantulas have one or two pairs of spinnerets (most spiders have 3 pairs) and less specialized silk spinning skills than some other spiders. (Orb weavers, for instance, produce 7 distinct kinds of silk for different purposes.) Tarantulas use silk for nest construction, to line burrows, and to create molting mats. Males use it to make curtain-like sheets called sperm webs on which they deposit sperm and then collect it with bespoke organs on their pedipalps called emboli. And they probably use it for prey/predator detection and for climbing assistance. Notably, they don’t use it to trap prey, but some species do make elaborate tunnel systems with it. My C. versicolor has already begun this process, with about half of her enclosure lightly webbed up.

I got a couple of new T’s and I think I’ll restrain myself from getting any more now. But they are really cool. Here’s my new Trinidad chevron (P. cambridgei) tarantula. She’s a confirmed female and about 4" DLS (diagonal leg span) so my largest spider. She’ll live 10-15 years and could eventually get to 7" in size.

And I got a 2" blue baboon spider (M. balfouri). This is my only spider from the eastern hemisphere (specifically an island off the coast of Yemen.) Old world T’s have a reputation for being defensive and fast and they use their fangs and venom for defense because they don’t have urticating bristles. Many old world tarantulas have potent venom (like will cause cramps, vomiting, chills, intense pain etc) but it’s not clear if M. balfouri does. An interesting feature of these spiders is that very unlike most tarantulas, you can keep them communally–like a large colony of males, females, and spiderlings in the same enclosure. I only have one.

This spider has a fuzzy tan carapace and blue-grey legs, but the upper part of the legs is the same fuzzy tan as the carapace, so when they’re folded in they blend with it and make the spider look like a weightlifter.

Another view of the Trinidad chevron with my daughter’s hand next to her. The spider has a cricket in her maw. The blue fluorescence at the ends of her legs and pedipalps only shows up under light.

Did you know tarantulas groom themselves like cats? I didn’t. Here’s my Trinidad chevron (called Cricket) using her legs, palps, fangs, and mouth to keep herself tidy:

I watched her do this for like an hour, cleaning each leg in turn. Pretty fascinating. Sorry, I’ll stop monopolizing this thread with my tarantula content now :)

Don’t stop! It’s great! Your enthusiasm is venomous infectious.

Did anyone here talk about how they genetically engineered silk worms to spin spider silk? Pretty cool.

No I hadn’t heard that! Here’s a link to the Science article about it. That’s pretty cool. I was reading an article the other day on why no one has tried to commercialize spider silk fabric before. (Mostly because you can’t cultivate spider farms.)

Yeah, spider silk is way, way stronger than normal silk, and this is the first time anyone has been able to produce it at scale. Might lead to some interesting textiles.

Timelapse of my M. balfouri (Socotra Island Blue Baboon spider) adding some webbing to her enclosure.