One of the most colourful tarantulas in the hobby, the Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens is a favourite of tarantula keepers the world over. With its funny name of Green Bottle Blue and its almost garish colouring, this spider makes a wonderful display specimen, often wowing viewers with its extensive webbing.
Originally placed in the genus Eurypelma by Strand in 1907, it was moved to Delopelma by Petrunkevitch in 1939 before being moved a final time by Schmidt in 1995 to its present location in its very own genus, Chromatopelma.
The C. cyaneopubescens hails from a small area in Northern Venezuela around Paraguana. It makes its home by spinning web retreats amongst low lying Acacia trees, thorny scrub brush, cacti and cracks in the dry earth. When one thinks of Venezuela one often pictures lush rainforests, not so in this area. It is an arid semi-desert environment, and though it does rain, the ground quickly soaks up the moisture and the humidity remains low. The temperatures can be quite high in this area, reaching well over 100*F (38*C), but in the shade of the low vegetation it is much lower, in the 58-68*F (14-20*C) range.
Mature females have been observed in the wild (Rick West) foraging away from their burrows, a practice usually observed in mature males looking for mates.
Though collecting theraphosid spiders in Venezuela is illegal, they have managed to find their way into the hobby. Captive breeding programs will hopefully stop the collecting of wild specimens.
C. cyaneopubescens is a medium sized, thin legged spider, reaching a legspan of 5-6". They show a moderate growth rate, with males reaching maturity in approximately two years, depending on how they are housed and fed. Their lifespan is thought to be between 10 and 15 years. Spiderlings of this species start out with pink, fuzzy legs and black feet, a shiny gold carapace and a striking red and black patterened abdomen. The next moults take this spider through an amazing journey of colours and growth. Soon the legs will start to turn blue, a mossy green will appear on the carapace, and the abdomen will slowly lose its pattern, ending in a bright halloween orange. There is no sexual dimorphism between males and females of this species. Mature males do possess tibial spurs.
Here is a small spiderling, approximately 1.25" legspan. Following pictures show some of the colour changes they go through.
Please see link to photo thread for pictures of adult specimens.
Their temperament while not overly defensive, is somewhat skittish and reclusive. They will flick urticating hair, though in my experience it is not something done too often. I have seen a fair amount of threat displays, but usually only if the spider has nowhere to run. I would not recommend this spider for handling. They are speedy and can be unpredictable.
The tarantula hobbyist should take into account the natural habitat of this spider when setting up the home terrarium. If given proper care, the C. cyaneopubescens can be a very hardy tarantula requiring minimal maintenance. Being that it is from an arid environment, its cage setup must be reflective of this. Dry substrate seems to be essential, and any moisture from misting or otherwise will soon cause the tarantula to take to the walls. In fact, too much moisture may actually be harmful to this spider, as they appear to be easily succeptible to moulds and fungi that may flourish in a humid environment, though spiderlings seem to be more tolerant.
A waterdish is highly recommended, perhaps even essential for this species, unless they are fed very well in which case they will recieve moisture from their prey. Misting of spiderlings who have not been given waterdishes yet is necessary, though I try to make sure not to mist the substrate, just the sides of the container. Even slings don't seem to appreciate a moist substrate.
A terrestrial set up is recommended for this species, though some consider them to be semi-arboreal. I find that giving them some sticks or a piece of cork bark to hide under and attach their webbing to is sufficient. I use a peat moss/vermiculite mix and have found it to work very well for this species.
They are voracious eaters, taking prey much larger than themselves with great gusto. I feed slings one small cricket once a week, and adults a few crickets once every week and a half to two weeks. Average room humidity seems to be fine, in fact I believe that some care sheets suggesting humidity levels over 50% to be rather high. I tend to not monitor temperatures for any of my spiders, during the summer they are left at room temperature, and during the winter I plug in an oil heater. Judging from the temperatures of their native environment, 65*-75*F (18-24*C) should be sufficient.
Mating for this species seems to be a violent affair, with the female often exhibiting cannibalistic tendencies towards the male. Possibly eating the male leads to a better chance of the female producing a viable egg sac, a theory I've heard in reference to other species. (Note: that is speculation on my part.) I have not read enough breeding reports of this species to make this section very detailed, but I will write what I've learned.
Actual mating can sometimes take several hours, with the female often killing the male quickly when finished. Incubation seems to take 3-4 months from mating to spiderlings emerging. They can produce anywhere from 75-150+ eggs, and the spiderlings are quite large. Hopefully someone with actual breeding experience can add to this.
West, R.C. 2005.
ARACHNOCULTURE 1(1): 22-28.
The World Spider Catalogue
Chromatopelma Genus photo thread
Thank you for allowing me to write a species of the month thread.
Edited by Longimanus, 03 October 2006 - 01:26 PM.