Chilean Rose Tarantula


ORDER: Araneae

FAMILY: Theraphosidae

GENUS: Grammostola

SPECIES: cala

DESCRIPTION:
Dark brown to black body covered with orangey-pink hair. Can reach 5 or more inches in size. The female lacks the mating fingers, or claspers, on the front legs which the male uses to hold the female away until he can mate.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Found throughout Chile in environments ranging from Mediterranean climate to a coastal rain forest.

DIET:
Nocturnal predator of small arthropods. Prey is injected with venom and enzymes that begin breaking it down into ingestible fluids. Our tarantula eats two crickets or a pinkie mouse per week in the Zoo.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Solitary. Live in burrows in the ground which they have dug or found abandoned by rodents. Burrow is lined with silk produced by the spider. They don't make aerial or food catching webs. Immature tarantulas molt up to 4 times per year; adult females molt once a year throughout their adult life. Reach adulthood when 8-12 years old; mating time is in the fall. 100 or more eggs are laid in a silken sac-like case. Males are killed by the female or die after mating, but females can live up to 25 years.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
All spiders have venom that is effective on small arthropods. Thetarantula's hair-like bristles serve him in many ways, but primarily as sensory structures. Some are sensitive to pressure, others to heat or air movement or vibrations. Eyes are fixed and sense light, dark and shadows; they are located on the top of the cephalothorax and cannot see under or directly in front.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
No tarantulas are dangerous to humans, but heavy gloves are still worn when handling them since their bite would be painful. They don't readily kick off the hairs on their abdomen in defense as some tarantulas do, but any dropped hairs are irritating to the handler.

OUR ANIMALS:

STATUS IN WILD:
Not endangered at this time.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Information Sheet from the San Francisco Insect Zoo, 1991.
  2. de Vosjoli, Philippe. 1991. Arachnomania, the General Care and Maintenance of Tarantulas and Scorpions, Advanced Vivarium Systems, Lakeside, CA.

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