Description and features
The class of arachnids is diverse and includes a huge number of species. Scientists number them somewhere around a hundred thousand. Spiders are only one of the orders of this class, and despite their relatively small size, they are considered far from being harmless creatures for good reason. This applies particularly to the representatives of the infrahalor mighalomorphic.
Copies of this type are usually the largest of their relatives, and also differ in the structure of the oral chelicera (the word itself is translated literally: claws, whiskers, which says something about their purpose and device). In these spiders, they are associated with poisonous glands that open in them, ducts.
The tarantula spider family is part of this infraorder. Its members are very large. It happens that in the extent of the legs their size reaches 27 cm and even exceeds these figures.
All species of tarantulas are poisonous, but with different toxicity. Some are almost harmless, but most should be considered quite dangerous. As a rule, the bite of their deadly for a healthy adult can not be, but causes severe pain and can cause seizures, fever and even hallucinations.
In addition, the lethal effects of the poison of these creatures may be lethal to children and small animals.
Fortunately, in Europe such living organisms practically do not occur, except that some species live in Portugal, Spain, Italy and areas close to these countries. However, as for the rest of the continents, here the range of these spiders is quite extensive.
After all, they almost completely inhabit South America and Africa, are widespread in Australia and on the islands adjacent to this mainland.
In the photo of the tarantula you can see that the appearance of such creatures is peculiar and exotic. The shaggy long legs of such spiders make a particularly strong impression. Moreover, purely visual it turns out that these creatures have six pairs of limbs. They are covered with bright, dense and significant in size hairs.
But on closer examination, only four pairs turn out to be their legs, and four more processes, shorter ones and located in front, are chelicerae and so-called pedipalps.
The coloring of such spiders is catchy and strikes with exotic colors, but especially juicy color ranges become after the molt of the tarantula. This is a very interesting and characteristic process for such living beings. Their body is constructed by their cephalothorax, the anterior part and the abdomen, connected only by a lintel. They cover the chitinous exoskeleton — a special shell.
This is a frame that retains moisture during the heat, and as armor, protecting against damage. During the molt, it is discarded and replaced with another. But it is precisely at such moments that an increased growth of the animal occurs, which sometimes increases its parameters almost four times.
Such creatures can boast four pairs of eyes, they are located in front. Pedipalps perform the role of organs of touch. Chelicera are used primarily for hunting and protection, but also dragging prey and digging holes.
And the hairs on the legs should be considered not just decoration. These are finely arranged organs, with their inherent sensitivity that capture odors and sounds.
This family has many representatives, including thirteen subfamilies, divided into a huge number of species (according to official data there are about 143). Features of their representatives are very characteristic, therefore the most interesting varieties deserve a special description.
1. Tarantula goliath is a creature famous for its size, which, including the length of the legs, is about 28 cm. Previously, a similar specimen of the planet’s fauna was considered the largest among spiders.
But the very beginning of the XXI century was marked by the discovery of Heteropoda maxima — a relative of the order living in the tropics and exceeding the number of goliath by a couple of centimeters, which means its dimensions are not the limit.
The color of such a spider is brown, sometimes with shades of red or light colors. Such creatures live in the swamps of South America. The weight of the male species can reach up to 170 g.
2. Tarantula black and white Brazilian. Representatives of this variety are slightly smaller than the previous one. Their sizes usually do not exceed 23 cm. They are famous for their intensive growth and bright, elegant, albeit black and white color.
The nature of the spider is unpredictable and aggressive. Often, such creatures lurk among the stones and under the roots of trees, but sometimes they creep out into open areas.
3. Metal tarantula (woody) is also a remarkable species, which is found only exclusively in the south of India. But in this case, the spider from its congeners is not at all measured in size, growing no more than up to 21 cm, but in brightness and fascinating, fabulous beauty.
His body and paws are blue with a metallic sheen, decorated with wonderful patterns. Such creatures, grouping together, live among the rotting old trees.
4. Smith’s Brachypelma is a species found in the southern United States and in Mexico. The size of such spiders is usually no more than 17 cm. The coloring can be black or dark brown with the addition of red and orange areas, in some cases decorated with a yellow or white border; frequent hairs on the body are light pink.
This species is not toxic toxicity and is not considered particularly aggressive.
As for the size of the tarantula, this has already been mentioned. But the parameters were given earlier with regard to the span of the legs. However, the body itself of the largest spiders has a size of about 10 cm, and in small species it can be less than 3 cm. Also, it is necessary to mention the characteristics of tarantulas with age and change their color as they mature.
Lifestyle and habitat
Different types of such spiders take root in a wide variety of geographic areas and conditions. Among these representatives of the fauna are known settlers of drylands and even deserts. There are species that prefer equatorial forests with their tropical humidity.
Tree tarantulas spend their days on shrubs and trees, in their crowns among the branches. They weave cobwebs and fold them into tubes. Others prefer solid earth and it is in this environment that they seek shelter for themselves. Quite a lot of species of spiders who dig themselves burrows, leaving deep underground. They close entrances to them with cobwebs.
In addition, the habitat of these creatures depends largely on the stage of development of the individual. For example, being a larva, it spends its days in a burrow, and when it grows it begins to come out on the ground (as happens with semi-woody and terrestrial species). That is, the pattern of behavior as they grow and mature in these spiders may change.
Regarding the growth stages of such living things. Newborn spiders, just born of eggs, are called nymphs. In this period of development, they usually do not feel the need for nutrition.
Further, the nymphs, undergoing a pair of molts, during which the body grows vigorous, turn into a larva (spiders are called so until they reach an adult state).
The hairs covering the body of such creatures are impregnated with poison. For the owners themselves, this is a very useful acquisition that they received from Mother Nature. Such fur shoots of tarantulas are used to protect the nests, weaving them into the web.
Also, in anticipation of danger, they scatter the poisonous hair around themselves, thus providing themselves with protection. When inhaled, even in humans, painful symptoms may appear: weakness, asphyxiation, burning sensation are all signs of an allergic reaction.
Bird spiders do not differ in their special mobility. And if they violate this rule, it is only if there is a good reason. For example, female tarantulas, if they are full, can sit in their shelters for several months. But even hungry individuals are still and patient. They are in their ambushes and track down prey.
Food spider tarantula
It is precisely in connection with the feeding habits that such a spider was named: the tarantula. And this story took place at the end of the 18th century in Venezuela, when a group of scientists discovered a huge spider in the tropical forests, with an appetite for eating hummingbirds.
Then even one of the members of the expedition, Maria Merian, made a colorful sketch of a tarantula impressed by what they saw. And he soon got into the newspapers, creating a certain glory for all the spiders of this family, which became the reason for the name.
In fact, the organisms of these spiders are not able to often digest poultry meat. That is, such cases do occur, but rarely. Basically, these creatures eat insects, small arachnids, and can encroach on their own relatives.
But surely they are predators. They watch for their victims from an ambush. And for catching them use previously prepared traps. The diet of these spiders includes: birds, small rodents, frogs, in some cases fish, as well as smaller prey — bloodworms, cockroaches, flies.
Reproduction and longevity
The male tarantula spawns faster than any of the females, but after that lives no more than a year, and if it matures, it is even less. The readiness of his offspring can be guessed by the characteristic external features. Firstly, on his pedipalps bulbs are formed — natural vessels for sperm.
And also males have special hooks, called tibalnye, they play a certain role during mating. These devices are needed to keep the partner, as well as protection from her, as the chosen one of the spiders can be very aggressive individuals.
In preparation for the meeting with the «lady», the males weave a special web, allocating a drop of family liquid to it, then grab it with hooks and start to search for a partner.
But even when the spider is and responds to the call, showing all kind of consent, intercourse does not occur without performing the necessary rituals. Without them, spiders cannot determine whether they belong to the same species. These can be bodily shaking or tapping with paws. Each species has its own mating movement.
The intercourse itself can be instant, but sometimes stretches on the clock. And the process consists in transferring the male sperm by the pedipalps of the male inside the partner’s body.
Such games are completely unsafe for spiders. Some of them may suffer even before copulation, if a couple does not get along with each other (this happens more often in aggressive species). And after the act itself, the male usually flees, since, if he didn’t show agility, he may well be eaten by a hungry female.
Next comes the process of the formation of eggs in the body of the spider. And when time comes, it forms a nest from a web where those eggs are laid. Their number is different, in some species it is in the tens, and in some it goes up to a couple of thousand.
After the completion of this, the spider makes a special spherical cocoon and incubates it. This period in different species lasts differently (it can last twenty days or more than a hundred). Moreover, the female can protect her offspring with aggression and zeal, and she can even eat this whole economy if she is hungry.
Such a spider character. Of these cocoons, nymphs appear first, which molt and grow, turning first into larvae, and then into adult spiders.
The nature of females has a longer life span than their cavaliers. Spiders are considered lifelong arthropod champions. The record is 30 years. But, strictly speaking, the duration of the life cycle depends on the species, and is sometimes measured in ten years, but in some species it is only a few years.
Spider tarantula at home: care and maintenance
The content of the tarantula lovers of wildlife becomes every year more and more widespread hobby. And it is not surprising, because such pets are simple in care, unpretentious, besides the appearance endowed with an impressive and exotic.
Breeding of such spiders is also useful because it is more convenient in the conditions of the home to observe the habits of these living creatures. Moreover, it is extremely difficult to do this in the wild.
For a home tarantula it is necessary to equip a medium-sized, closed terrarium, which for each individual must be separate, since such pets are quite capable of eating each other. The floor of the container is lined with coconut bark.
Also provide a spider cover in the form of a flower pot. For woody species, pieces of bark or snags are needed. It is better to use insects as food: mealworms, crickets, cockroaches, flies.
To take into the hands most types of such pets, because of their danger, is strongly not recommended. And precisely because of the threat to health, it is better to keep the views with a calm temperament.
For example, in this capacity, experts recommend the Chilean red tarantula. It has an interesting color, non-aggressive and almost not dangerous.
Such a spider is quite possible to take in hand. When he feels threatened, he usually does not bite and does not attack, but tries to hide himself. For beginners lovers of exotic such a creature as the first pet spider is best suited.