Avicularia Taxonomy Revision

Avicularia, Taxonomy No Comments »

Avicularia Revision

As 2017 is rolling out we have come to find out there are new changes to Avicularia. This genus by Lamarck, 1818 has been revised and all species rediagnosed. This entire report has been published as well as well documented and can be found here. It is an interesting article and very informative for any tarantula keeper and we highly recommend you taking the time to read it.

Avicularia versicolor

(photo by Tom Patterson)

However, for those who just want to know what changed…..Here ya go:

A.versicolor is now Caribena versicolor

A.laeta is now Caribena laeta

A.rickwesti is now Antillena rickwesti

A.sooretama is now Ybyrapora sooretama

A.gamba is now Ybyrapora gamba

A.diversipes is now Ybyrapora diversipes

A.avicularia variegata is now A.variegata

A.bicegoi is now A.variegata

A.velutina is now A.avicularia

A.exilis is now A.avicularia

A.ancylochyra is now A.avicularia

A.cuminami is now A.avicularia

A.nigrotaeniata is now A.avicularia

A.urticans is now A.juruensis

A.affinis is now Euathlus affinis

A.subvulpina is now Grammostola subvulpina

A.aymara is now Thrixopelma aymara

A.leporina is now Iridopelma leporina

A.plantaris is now Iridopelma plantaris

 

This genus was a taxonomic dumping ground for wrongly placed species. Taxonomy long ago was nowhere near as specific and precise as it is now. That’s why so many things were incorrectly placed into certain genera. It is also why so many species are now to be synonymous with others. When a genus gets moved or changed, it just means that it never belonged in the genus it was in to begin with. When this happens it needs to be moved to the correct genus and this is just one of many new revisions to come as technology and better research happen in the 21st century. It might be hard to understand but this will end up being for the betterment and for the future of this genera.

 

What about you? What are your thoughts? Share with us and remember to rename your tarantulas!

Colombian Giant Redleg (Megaphobema robustum)

Megaphobema, New World No Comments »

The Colombian Giant Redleg tarantula comes from the tropical rainforests of Colombia and Brazil. Considered an average sized species they reach sizes of 6″ to 8″ in leg span at full growth. Known for their velevet black and red colors they are most definitely a beautiful species. They are fairly quick growers with males reaching maturity within 3 to 5 years and females growing to be up to 15 years old. 

Megaphobema RobustumMegaphobema Robustum

Photo Credit: @Andrea.Arachnid

 

Habitat: The Colombian Giant Redleg is a terrestrial tarantula but can be an obligate burrower. Though their sizes can differ and mature species can be anywhere between 6″ to 8″ we recommend you keep them at full growth in a 10 gallon tank. Make sure you have at least 6″ of substrate to allow your tarantula to burrow should it feel the need to in addition to having a nice startup hide for it. As slings these can be kept in vial and later on a deli cup. Though the more hardier of Megaphobema sp. we recommend you keep the Megaphobema robustum at a slight lower temperature as most tarantulas. We recommend temperatures of 75°F to 84°F with a humidity of 70 to 85%. They do not do well with higher temperatures and a close eye on them should be kept. As always an overflowing water dish should always be kept in the enclosure.

 

Feeding: Overall great eaters we recommend flightless fruitflies when small slings and later switching it over to small pinhead crickets. Feel free to crush their heads to prevent them hurting your spiderling. You can feed your Megaphobema robustum a mixed variety of crickets, roaches, meal worms and locusts. Be careful of your tarantula being in pre-molt and not wanting to eat. If prey is not eaten within 24 hours of being placed in the enclosure feel free to remove and leave your tarantula alone for at least 1 week as she or he can be ready to molt.

 

Attitude: Though not aggressive, Megaphobema robustum have urticating hairs which they carry in both their abdomen and back legs. As a defense mechanism they tend to raise their abdomen and flick off a lot of urticating hairs compared to many other species. A fairly shy tarantula they prefer to run then to to show threat posture. They can bite, though harmless, can be equivalent to a bee sting.

 

A great tarantula overall and definitely should be part of any collection!

 

Hissing Cockroach Starter Colony

DIY, Feeders No Comments »

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) or also known as hisser roaches are one of the largest cockroach species in the world. They are well known for their size and hissing noises that come out of them. The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach makes an ideal insect pet due to it being easy to care for, inexpensive and can even be produced to be great feeder insects. Adults reach sizes of 3 to 4 inches in length, can live to be a few years old and they are known to produce like crazy! Below we have compiled a tutorial for you to be able to create your own Hissing Cockroach Starter Colony!

 

Step 1: Getting the right size enclosure for your hissers! The rule of thumb is that you use 1/2 of a gallon per pair of hissing roaches. The pictures below are for 70 pairs (140 hissing roaches). I went with a 60 gallon plastic container/enclosure because I am trying to get my hissers to breed.

IMG_3755

 

Step 2: Drilling holes into your container/enclosure. You can either drill hundreds of small little holes all around the top rim and lid or you can do what I did which is drill 2″ vents all around the top part of the enclosure. Make sure you have proper ventilation. Note that I did drill starter holes so that my 2 inch drill bit would easily align each cut accordingly. Plastic can be slippery with a drill bit!

IMG_3757 IMG_3758

 

Step 3: Make sure your vents fit nicely. These are 2″ vents that I bought at my local hardware store for dirt cheap. they come in a dozen bag for about $3. I also ended up experimenting with 4″ inch vents for better cross ventilation as shown in the 2nd picture thought his is not required.

IMG_3759 IMG_3760

 

Step 4: Filling up your container. Though you can go and use egg cartons and empty paper towel rolls I prefer using a mix of wood chips and substrate for the bottom of my enclosure and lay down bark pieces for the hissers to hide under or crawl over. Be sure to also have a nice food dish and water bowl readily available.

IMG_3764 IMG_3765

 

Step 5: Unlike many other cockroach types, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach can climb plastic and glass with no trouble at all. To prevent this from happening you simply have to coat about 2″ of the inner top of the container with some petroleum jelly. This prevents them from being able to climb out of your enclosure as shown in the picture. A secure lid is also a plus when making your hisser colony.

IMG_3767 IMG_3771

 

Step 6: Putting your roaches in and making sure they have plenty to feast on and drink. I recommend you using water crystals for your hissing cockroach starter colony as this has less chance to evaporate due to the high heat of the enclosure. A diet of steady greens, fruits and even cat kibble should be perfect to keep your hissers healthy, fat and happy.

Adult Madagascar Hissers

Adult Madagascar Hissers

 

Pro Tip: Though hissers do well in regular room temperature, they do grow and breed much faster the warmer it is. You can heat your container/enclosure to up to 95 degrees and have a very productive colony! For this you can use an external heat source such as a heating pad or heating lamp.

 

Sexing: You can tell the gender of your hissers by simply looking at them up close! Males have large horns on their head while females have a much rounder shape to their head. This can be seen as early as 3 months of age.

 

These simple steps can easily help you in the growth of your colony. For any additional questions or help feel free to reply below in the comments.