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Teraphose de Leblond (Mygale) sur un tronc d'arbre - Région de Fourgassié, Guyane française © PlanetNoé - Thierry Montford

The curlyhair tarantula

The curlyhair tarantula, Brachypelma albopilosum, is a spider which lives in South America and feeds mainly on insects.

Profile

Class, order and family :
Arachnida, Araneae, Theraphosidae
Life span :
up to 20 years in captivity
Size & Weight :
7 and 8 cm in length (including legs) and 80 - 120 g
Incubation period :
2 - 3 months, up to 800 eggs in a cocoon
Natural habitat :
rainforests, among the thick tree roots
Diet :
carnivore - insects (crickets, grasshoppers), spiders, lizards
Native region :
tropical cultivation areas in Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Lifestyle

Like all tarantulas, it secretes venom and its bite can be painful. But it can also project urticating hairs from its back in self-defence with a quick movement of its legs. It is said to "bombard" its predators.

The tarantulas produce silk for a variety of purposes. They make silk beds on the ground for moulting, laying mats where they keep the egg-filled cocoons, and web blankets or funnels for a refuge or sometimes as a trap for capturing large prey.

Anecdote

Courtship and mating involves a meeting between male and female which generally goes well, but females who are sometimes unwilling to mate attack the males. Courtship, in fact, sometimes provides the setting for violent skirmishes between male and female. Mating itself is often quick and afterwards the male beats a hasty retreat…