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Poecilotheria

Poecilotheria genus of the tarantula family has fourteen species in all, as recorded by the World Spider Catalog in 2016. All of the species are under the CITES’ protection since 2019. These arboreal, bright-colored species are also called ornamental tarantulas. An Asian genus, seven of the species inhabit India, six occupy parts of Sri Lanka, while two of them are found in both the countries.

Poecilotheria Spider

Spider Belonging to this Genus

Gooty Sapphire Tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica)Poecilotheria formosa Poecilotheria metallica
Poecilotheria mirandaPoecilotheria regalisPoecilotheria rufilata
Poecilotheria striataPoecilotheria tigrinawesseliPoecilotheria fasciata
Poecilotheria ornataPoecilotheria rajaeiPoecilotheria smithi
Poecilotheria subfuscaPoecilotheria hanumavilasumicaPoecilotheria vittata

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females are 2.3 -3.1 inches (6 -8 cm) while males measure about 1.1-23 inches (3 – 6 cm).

Scientific Classification

Color: They come in a variety of colors, with the females appearing brighter than the males. The gooty sapphire ornamental (Poecilotheria metallica) is the only blue species of this genus, while others could come in shades of green, gray, or even orange.

Their abdomen is marked with white and black spots on the dorsal surface, while their first and fourth or the eight pairs of legs have black and yellow patterns.

Other Characteristic Features: Males appear smaller and slender than females. The first and fourth pairs of legs are of similar length in males, while in females, the former is longer than the latter.

Eggs

The pale green, round eggs remain encased in a silken sac.

Spiderlings

Spiderlings do not stay with their mother for the rest of their life but disperse a few days after maturation.

The Web

These spiders are not the one making web for entrapping insects. Instead, they chase their prey with speed.

Are Spiders of the Poecilotheria Genus Venomous

Bites of certain species of this genus could result in moderate to severe pain alongside muscle cramps.

Quick Facts

Other Names Ornamental tarantulas
Distribution India and Sri Lanka
Habitat Trees
Diet Bats, larvae, Insects, and small birds
Lifespan 10-12 years

Did You Know

  • French naturalist Eugene Louis Simon described the genus in 1885. While Albertus Seba, a Dutch zoologist, documented a few species inhabiting Sri Lanka on his visit to the country.
  • Certain species of this genus were classified as “endangered” or even critically endangered” since their numbers declined because of habitat loss. The gooty sapphire tarantula was a prominent preference among smugglers for the pet trade.

Image Credits: allpetsdirectory.com

Poecilotheria genus of the tarantula family has fourteen species in all, as recorded by the World Spider Catalog in 2016. All of the species are under the CITES’ protection since 2019. These arboreal, bright-colored species are also called ornamental tarantulas. An Asian genus, seven of the species inhabit India, six occupy parts of Sri Lanka, while two of them are found in both the countries.

Poecilotheria Spider

Spider Belonging to this Genus

Gooty Sapphire Tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica)Poecilotheria formosa Poecilotheria metallica
Poecilotheria mirandaPoecilotheria regalisPoecilotheria rufilata
Poecilotheria striataPoecilotheria tigrinawesseliPoecilotheria fasciata
Poecilotheria ornataPoecilotheria rajaeiPoecilotheria smithi
Poecilotheria subfuscaPoecilotheria hanumavilasumicaPoecilotheria vittata

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females are 2.3 -3.1 inches (6 -8 cm) while males measure about 1.1-23 inches (3 – 6 cm).

Color: They come in a variety of colors, with the females appearing brighter than the males. The gooty sapphire ornamental (Poecilotheria metallica) is the only blue species of this genus, while others could come in shades of green, gray, or even orange.

Their abdomen is marked with white and black spots on the dorsal surface, while their first and fourth or the eight pairs of legs have black and yellow patterns.

Other Characteristic Features: Males appear smaller and slender than females. The first and fourth pairs of legs are of similar length in males, while in females, the former is longer than the latter.

Eggs

The pale green, round eggs remain encased in a silken sac.

Spiderlings

Spiderlings do not stay with their mother for the rest of their life but disperse a few days after maturation.

The Web

These spiders are not the one making web for entrapping insects. Instead, they chase their prey with speed.

Are Spiders of the Poecilotheria Genus Venomous

Bites of certain species of this genus could result in moderate to severe pain alongside muscle cramps.

Quick Facts

Other Names Ornamental tarantulas
Distribution India and Sri Lanka
Habitat Trees
Diet Bats, larvae, Insects, and small birds
Lifespan 10-12 years

Did You Know

  • French naturalist Eugene Louis Simon described the genus in 1885. While Albertus Seba, a Dutch zoologist, documented a few species inhabiting Sri Lanka on his visit to the country.
  • Certain species of this genus were classified as “endangered” or even critically endangered” since their numbers declined because of habitat loss. The gooty sapphire tarantula was a prominent preference among smugglers for the pet trade.

Image Credits: allpetsdirectory.com

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