General

The tarantula - Wanted poster


Characteristics

Surname: Tarantula
Latin name: Theraphosidae
class: Arachnids
size: 2 - 12cm (depending on the species)
mass: up to 150g
Older: 5 - 20 years (in human custody)
Appearance: eight-legged, mostly brown burning hair, body part darker colored
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
food: Insects, small mammals, amphibians
distribution: worldwide in the tropics and subtropics in rainforests and even semi-deserts
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: depending on the species tree or soil inhabitant
natural enemies: Ants
sexual maturity: about the second year of life
mating season: all year round
oviposition: 100 - 300 eggs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the tarantula

  • The tarantulas or Theraphosidae describe an almost thousand-species order within the tarantulas and colonized the earth already 350 million years ago.
  • They are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia and Europe, where they live on trees and shrubs, underground or as floor inhabitants, depending on their species.
  • In Europe, wild tarantulas are found in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.
  • The tarantula owes its name to a picture painted by the South American artist and biologist Maria Sibylla Merian in the 18th century depicting a spider sitting on a dead bird.
  • Tarantulas spend most of their time in their hiding place in a leaf funnel or burrow, and only become active during prey, moulting and mating.
  • They do not build nets, but are Lauerjäger, depending on the species insects, small mammals such as mice, small vertebrates and reptiles and birds capture.
  • Approaching a potential victim, they hit with their bite claws, the so-called cheliceras lightning fast and inject a poison that decomposes the body of the prey animal. As a result, the tarantula can then suck her victim.
  • Tarantulas are eaten by scorpions, centipedes, mongooses and ants.
  • The tarantula is on average five centimeters tall, whereby the males are clearly smaller than the females.
  • The largest exponent of tarantulas is Venezuela's Theraphosa blondi, whose body is up to twelve centimeters long. With the legs results in a span of up to thirty centimeters.
  • At the same time, however, there are also species within this order that hardly grow larger than two centimeters.
  • Some South American native tarantulas use sophisticated defensive tactics when cornered. They hold their backs against the enemy and repeatedly bombard them with burning hair, which causes an unpleasant itching on the skin.
  • With the next moult, new hairs form on the bald spots left by the bombardment on the abdomen.
  • After the male has fertilized the eggs in the body of the female in the course of mating, these are spun by the mother in a cocoon and guarded. The larvae hatch after about a month.
  • The life expectancy of wild tarantulas is not known, but female animals kept in terrariums can live for up to twenty years. The males usually die much earlier at the age of five to ten years.