A little late to be putting up Halloween decorations Ms Balfouri!
I’d imagine a lot of that is meant to hide the spider from birds. Very cool!
I like how in the time-lapse you can see she moves in spurts, which I think is characteristic. Spider movement is anaerobic because their hearts and book lungs are in the abdomen, but all their legs are connected to the prosoma, so the oxygenated hemolymph has to travel through the spider’s pedicel (waist) to get to the legs. And in addition the hemolymph is used not just for oxygen delivery but also to to hydraulicly extend the limbs using a piston-like arrangement at the joints. (Spiders only have flexor muscles, not extensors, which is why they curl up when they die.) And in addition to that spider metabolism well below average even for poikilotherms (externally regulated body temp.) They’re very efficient and can go for weeks or months without food. So they’re very much sprinters, not long distance runners, especially when they get bigger. And you can see that in the kind of stutter-stop way they move.
Here’s Cricket eating her namesake food.
Haha, wow! It’s almost a magic trick. She moves from point A to point B and the cricket just happens to disappear from point C.
Lol, yeah. It’s hard to see even on frame by frame–she’s just a blur–but I think she started to move, which alarmed the cricket so it jumped and then she grabbed it in mid-air. This spider in particular is fast and violent. Some of my others are almost lazy, like it seems like they just reach over and casually grab the cricket, which is almost more impressive because it’s an equally fast but very fluid motion. It’s so impressive though to see Cricket–who is as big as my closed fist–just pounce like that.
Not gonna lie, that’s more than a little terrifying.
Yeah, they’re fascinating when moving slowly but terrifying when they kick it into gear. Bleh.
One of my smallest slings (my A. geniculata, named Victory Smith) molted this morning. First molt for any of them. It was a 3/4" tiny pink thing and now looks like a proper spider with the hint of its adult coloration. (These side by side images are not to scale with each other)
I took the exuvia (the spider’s cast off exoskeleton) to work and took some closeup images of it using our binocular microscope. Here’s the size relative to my thumb:
Fangs, cheliceral teeth (along the edge of the chelicerae below the fangs), and filter bristles:
I looked at this thing for probably half an hour. Super fascinating. I’m hoping to get more in depth with some bigger molts at some point.
Took some video of my 4.5" Trinidad chevron spider building her nest. She starts out with dirt in her fangs that she’s collected from the substrate floor, packs it in good with her pedipalps, then carefully places it on the side of her self-made burrow and silks it up. My favorite part is at 1:12 or so she spits out the remaining dirt in her mouth and cleans it out with her fangs. I can just imagine her making the universal dirt-in-my-mouth “phft phft” sound. The video is sped up by a factor of 2. I actually watched her do this for almost an hour last night.
Again you can see the stutter-stop movement, where she moves for a bit then stops to catch her breath, i.e. let the hemolymph in her prosoma circulate back through her book lungs to re-oxygenate.
Geez that seems a laborious process.
Yeah, that whole burrow that she’s in is dirt lined with silk. She does construction every night and has been at it for several weeks now.
Does that mean she’s preparing to procreate?
I don’t think so. I think she’s still a sub adult and not mature yet, though there’s no way to tell this with female tarantulas. This species can grow to 7", so she’s got a couple of more molts yet. It is possible she’s preparing for to molt though, which can be an arduous day long process for big spiders.
New addition to the family
She’s a Brazilian Wooly Black (G. actaeon) although it’s possible she’s an Entre Rios (G. iheringi) because those two are easily confused, taxonomy is difficult and inadvertent hybridization is common in the hobby. I bought her off a dude on Craigslist who was keeping like 100 spiders and needed to raise some cash.
She has been suuppper docile. Like when I was collecting her to bring her home, I had to really push her along with my paint brush. And she just slowly walks around her enclosure investigating. So I dropped that quarter in there for size reference. No problem. Then after I took the photo, I reached in (with tongs of course) to pull out the quarter… So, these terrestrial tarantulas don’t do much visible webbing, but I’ve found that they’ll web up the entire ground of their enclosure with fine webbing you can’t see, but it makes the dirt all stick together and gives them, I assume, situational awareness… Anyway, I reached in with the tongs and as soon as I touched the quarter and started trying to pull it out, she sensed it and attacked the tongs. Like blindingly fast, she spun around, launched herself and was on them. Good thing I didn’t reach in with my hand. I tossed a cricket to distract her, which she leapt on, and then I was able to pull the quarter out. Reminder not to take that docility for granted.
Why you gotta be stealing her hard-earned cash, man?
Turns out she’s actually neither of these. She’s actually a Mexican Red Rump (Tliltocatl vagans), which isn’t even the same genus. (Tliltocatl is a Nahuatl word that means “black spider” pronounced something like tlee-TOE-cut.) I’m not sad; she’s still a cool and beautiful spider, and this genus is relatively slow growing, so she’s probably at least 5 years old.
Came in this morning and couldn’t find her in her enclosure until I noticed she was right in front of my nose. I didn’t even know she could climb the walls. I thought she was too heavy. She’s way more intimidating this way.
She’s a solid 5 inches from leg tip to leg tip so, like, she’ll get bigger.
Another day, another spider. I may have a problem.
Phormictopus atrichromatus, or the Red Island Birdeater, native to Hispaniola. She’s a gorgeous animal with shimmering copper highlights. Kind of intimidatingly large and leggy though (and could grow a couple of more inches.) Also somewhat skittish and quite fast. Rehousing her was… an adventure.
Thank goodness I went with bonsai trees and not tarantulas, because at least in winter I mostly have to chill on the purchases.
If ever there was a “Porque no los dos?”