Baboon Tarantula

Photographed after disturbance [4]

A male stout leg baboon tarantula (Eucratoscelus cf. pachypus) made its debut on our porch one rainy night, wandering in search of a mate. Like many terrestrial tarantulas, this species burrows into soil to create a vertical cylindrical tunnel. The tarantula resides in a chamber at the bottom, legs splayed outward to detect the vibrations from incoming prey. Once an unlucky arthropod reaches the edge of the hole, the tarantula will burst outward to pierce and restrain with its movable recurved fangs. My most memorable tarantula experience was luring out an extremely large goliath birdeater (Theraphosa stirmi) in Brazil. She latched onto and pulled the stick so strongly with her fangs that I couldn’t believe this amount of power was coming from an arthropod. Female Eucratoscelus are more interesting morphologically than the males. They have thick hind legs with bushy long hairs, giving them a sort of bottom-heavy or “stout leg” appearance. I don’t know what the function of these dense hairs are, but hopefully I’ll be able to entice a female out of her burrow over the next several weeks.

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Spiderling ~ 1.5cm long; photographed after capture [5]

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