1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Effective Breeding of Brachypelma Smithi

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Travis K, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. Travis K

    Travis K TravIsGinger Old Timer

    It's a little early but i want to be very prepared for an attempt to breed my B. Smithi.

    So any of you who have bred Brachypelma successfully please tell me how, and give me pointers. Please give as many details as you can.

    My mature female will be molting sometime between Jan and May of '08 and the same goes for the male. The male will most likely be Sexually Mature upon his next molt. I need to know things like timing of the molts to breeding and stuff like that, and the more info the better, cause some varriables may not be as important as others. I really want to know which of the varriables are needing a great deal of attention and which ones are not so important.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your knowlege and experiences,

    P.S. I you post links to past threads thats great, but new accounts and attempts of Breeding B. Smithi are also good. So if you like post links, but if you have relevant info please share.
  2. sgt.batguano

    sgt.batguano Arachnosquire

    i know nothing...i hope this helps.
  3. Snipes

    Snipes Arachnoprince Old Timer

    bumping this up so Ryan can see.
  4. Used this formula for succesfull smithi mating:

    Misted females enclosure once a week, 1 month before introducing the male.
    Fed her one big foodsubjekt per day, for a week before the mating.
    The day before the mating, i "sharktanked" the male in females enclosure, in a box with small holes.

    Mating went without any problems at all;) .
  5. jbrd

    jbrd Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Well according to Rick West the breeding season is occurs during the rainy summer season that extends from June/July to October/November. So this would tend to make me believe this would be the best time to breed them.
    I was wondering how you know your male will have his ultimate molt in the time you specified?
  6. Ok, where to begin............ This I guess will be my formal write up for breeding the species Brachypelma Smithi. Everything I write below is based off my experience. The methods used below are what I have found to work the best over the years, and I want to stress I am not saying other methods are wrong, this is just a write up of what I do. My success within this genus speaks for itself, so I don’t really want to be debating my methods. Just take it all at face value.

    First let me address the size cut off for this species when thinking about breeding them. I have had success with one 4.5" female, but I would always wait one more molt past that size. Even at 5" I have gotten 500+ slings from a female before. Smaller females can be bred, but production seems very hit and miss, mainly IMO because the females cycle is still fairly short, maybe to short for proper egg production.

    The next thing to keep in mind is the time table we are dealing with when thinking about breeding this species. This is one of the most important issues to sort out. I like to get my females bred inside of 2 months after a molt. The deadline I have established for too late to breed is about the 5 month mark. There is no harm in trying if it is that long after a molt but for me I have noticed success rates take a nose dive after that time frame. The fresher the male the better as well, so as you can tell timing is everything.

    Next issue at hand is the pairing itself. This can be tricky sometimes. MM Smithi can be big wimps until they are successful for the first time. After that they are studs. But I have had a few males that matured and died never having paired with a female because they would touch the female and run away.

    As for the actual pairing. Wait until the first sperm web is thought to have been seen. Then that night try and pair them. "shark tanking" IMO is not needed with this species. The second you get a loaded MM Smithi into a female’s tank he should get down to business drumming and twitching. If he freezes that is normal. He could sit there for a long while seemingly making up his mind on what he wants to do. Also when you put him in the tank introduce him to the far side of the tank opposite of her and her hide. Females can respond at first with a burst of aggression that seems like she wants to kill the MM. What I do is stand by with tweezers and when she lunges like that I will get between them but not to separate just to give them a second to realize the other one is there and is not food. It is very easy to see if there are inserts. The female will arch back sharply and sometimes the male will drag the female a little ways while is making the insert. Most pairings result in several inserts by both palps. Once you start to see the female's front four legs start to move I like to intervene and help the male escape.

    People also want to know how many times they should pair them together. Typically I shoot for three good pairings after sperm webs. If on the second you try to get nothing, that is a great indication that the female took to the first pairing and will not need additional pairings. But I still try for three pairings.

    Next is the after mating care. In the next few months after pairings I feed the females all they want to eat. I do this because after about 2 months I will start their cool downs. This can be a complicated process for those that live in warmer climates. I like to do this in a series of phases.

    Phase one, they get moved out of my tarantula room, this is for about a two week period.

    Phase two, they get moved out to my patio closet which can range from 60-64 but rarely above that.

    Phase three is hand in hand with phase 2. I will alternate from the patio closet to a mini fridge set on high. The highest setting will get the bottom shelf of the fridge at about 50-52 degrees. They spend a night in there, and then a day in the closet. If you forget a night that is not a big deal I forget all the time. But the main goal is to get some temp differences that indicate a day night temp change like it would occur in the wild during winter. This will go on for about 8-12 weeks. I normally do this for 10 weeks but sometimes I just go with it, the timeline is not set in stone it is more of a guideline, during this time no food is offered but water is always supplied.

    Phase four, after about 12 weeks after leaving my tarantula room they will then return to a corner in my house. Staying there for two weeks or so, and from there they move back to my T room which is about 78-80. During this time I watch the female’s behaviors. More often than not there comes a point where they will take food one or two more times, but if they don’t eat don’t be concerned. Also during this period look for a widening of the abdomen in the bottom 1/3. This is a great indication that eggs are being formed within the female.

    Phase five, now comes the flooding. Take a bottle of water and act like god and bring the spring rains. Soak liberally allowing the tank to dry between soakings. When the female starts to show signs such as digging or webbing I then stop the flooding process and concentrate on keeping the water dish full and that is it. Your target time frame to be expecting a sac from your girl is anywhere between the 7-13 month mark. 9 and a half months seems to be the norm for me.

    Phase six, I use coconut hides, I do this because it provides a nice dark circular shaped place ideal for egg sac construction. I have used upside down plastic flower pots buried with a doorway cut out and had success with those as well. But the goal of a hide is to provide a very dark secure place for the sac to be made. This can be a turn off for some people because they want to see everything happen, but which would you rather have, a stressed T looking for somewhere to make a sac in the open, or a calm one making her sac in secret? Make sure you take note of the day the sac was made, or the closest date thought to be made if she makes it without you seeing. This will be important to know in the coming weeks.

    Phase seven, this is where some people will vary so I will state now that this is what I chose to do because I have had great success doing this. I take the sac from the mother at day 16 for manual incubation from then on out. I do this for a few reasons.

    One being Smithi females are known to munch sacs for no real known reason at all. I have one female that had eaten two sacs before I took her third on day 16 and received 1000+ slings as a reward.
    The second reason I take so early is sometimes 99.99% of the sac is good, but all it takes is a few bad eggs to spoil the whole sac causing the female to burry the sac or eat it. If you chose to leave the sac with the female for 30-40 days you run the risk of those bad eggs destroying your efforts. And to back that up further I have taken sacs before and had a dozen or so bad eggs, I removed them, and all the rest of the eggs made it the rest of the way. Please note, if you know you have a female that has in the past been a good mother you can leave the sac with the mother if you chose. I don’t leave sacs with the mother anymore but it is an option.
    Last reason I take so early is I believe here is a lot of cannibalism within the sac in the younger stages. I have witnessed eggs with legs eat their close by brothers and sisters. Most articles you read will tell you to expect mid 100’s from Smithi, 400-500 being a good average. But when I started taking my sacs earlier my sling count started nearing 1000 per sac every time with one sac yielding over 1000. This might be ok for some people that don’t want that many slings coming from one sac. But there is no harm in raising them all and passing them to friends, I am sure someone will take them!

    At day 16 you will have eggs that have already absorbed the sperm and other fluid in the egg sac. I empty the eggs from the sac into coffee filters. And those filters are slid into deli containers that are then placed into a plastic shoe box lined with wet paper towels with a lid that has holes in it. That setup stays in my T room at temps around 78-80. I’ll place the setup on an upper shelf as well so it may be a bit warmer. Two times a day I hand rotate the eggs. In this setup rotating the eggs is much easier then the hammock method because all you do is pick up the container and give it a gentle swirling motion and all the eggs roll evenly. The other up side to this setup is the eggs are all flat and not resting on each other at any point. This prevents eggs from clumping together and allows for easier molting through the next stages.

    Eggs with legs are seen anywhere from day 21-35 depending on your temps. Once this happens I do not rotate them anymore, but I will gently shake the container every now and then to prevent eggs from latching on to their neighbors and eating them. A few days after they molt into 1st instar (30-40 days after molting into eggs with legs) I transfer the slings into deli containers lined with moist paper towels. Or if you don’t want to do that, just drip some water in the filter every few days. I do this because I have seen slings at that size drink water and this also seems to aid with molting into 2nd instar feeding slings which takes about another 30-40 days. Another reason I transfer them is it gives them a clean setup, they will start defecating at the 1st instar stage plus all the skins from the recent molts are everywhere.
    These time frames are flexible once again because it does depend on the temps you can keep them at. Use the dates as guidelines for what to expect and when, not a rigid time table.

    Lastly it will be time to separate. You have some time between them molting into 2nd instar and separation. But separating that many slings does take a while so if you want to do it in phases you can. I like to prep my containers a few weeks before hand so I am not scrambling to do so when they need to be separated.

    Cannibalism is normally not observed for about 3-6 weeks after they are mobile slings. It is always safer to plan ahead and do the separation earlier rather then later. It would be sad to go through all this and have slings be killed like that. 3-6 days after the 2nd instar molt you should be ok to separate them. The homes they go into can be very simple. I house mine in little portion cups you can get from restaurant surplus stores for cheap. I do not make holes in the lids or containers, and the peat I keep them on is moist. Over all I have found them easier to maintain if the substrate is moist. Even though Brachys are known to like it dry slings are more fragile then you might think and I use the moist substrate as a preventative measure against hydration related deaths. When they hit the 1.5-2.5” mark I will then offer a cap of water and allow the peat to dry out more.

    I think I about covered it all. If there are any questions I am more then willing to field them.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2007
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. KyuZo

    KyuZo Arachnoprince Old Timer

    WOW!!! that is a lot of info. i wonder how long did it takes you to write all that.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2007
  8. It took me a while. But I am at work doing some overtime and I figured why not. I get asked all the time about my methods, so there they are. :D

    Lol you should not have quoted that whole paragraph. You just made this thread much longer by doing that. :eek:
  9. David_F

    David_F Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Dude, thank you for posting that. :worship:

    Breeding reports are one thing but, for someone with your success rate, posting such detailed info on the entire process is exceptional. You and all the other really successful breeders out there should collaborate and get a good instruction manual going for the hobby.
  10. KyuZo

    KyuZo Arachnoprince Old Timer

    you're right, i just edited it and now it is a lot shorter. hehe
  11. Thank you for the kind words. It is a little rough around the edges verbiage wise, I do not claim to be a great writer, but I hope I got the general concept across.
  12. In addition to the above post here are some pictures of the incubation method I use for all species. These were taken before I got my awesome camera so excuse the poorness.









    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Hope this helps you some there Travis. If you have anything else to aske just fire away the next time your on here.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. hamfoto

    hamfoto Arachnoangel Old Timer


    Very nice write up!

  15. sgt.batguano

    sgt.batguano Arachnosquire

    thank you ryan ...respect
  16. I learned a lot from your post, Ryan!

  17. No problem! :D
  18. Tescos

    Tescos Banned

    Nice bit of info talkenlate04
    How many species of "red leg" Brachypelma has this worked for and how many successful eggsacs is that now?
    All the best
  19. For me this has worked with Emilia, Smithi, Auratum, and Boehmei. Total sacs...... around 20. I'd have to dig through my records to find out for sure.

    Vagans, Verdezi, Albopilosum, Annitha don't need any special cool down periods.

    I am currently in the later stages of this cycle with my Baumgarteni so fingers crossed.

    I have not had the pleasure of attempting Angustum, Klaasi, Ruhnaui, and a few others. But I would assume of those three Klaasi and Ruhnaui would need a cool down of sorts Angustum should do ok without.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  20. bigo

    bigo Arachnosquire Old Timer

    Hey Ryan thanks for the info i am in the cooling stage with my breeding project and with your advies i would be able to hopefully get a sac