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How to Quickly Identify the Genus of your Australian Tarantula

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by RezonantVoid, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    I'm forever looking through GUMTREE ads and finding people advertising their Ts as either the incorrect species or genus, and sometimes people not knowing at all. I thought this might be a useful thread to some of you who are keen to get your spider's ID down to at least genus level.

    NOTE: I will also be referencing some of Steve Nunn's work, he has a more detailed version of this on his website.


    These T's are probably the best for getting into the hobby, they grow pretty fast, have a nice build and have deep, chocolate browns and grey colouration with lots of shine. Like all Aussie Ts, each species has a pretty uniform appearance making it difficult to identify them on a species level until fully mature, but phlogius have a fairly recogniseable build. The heads are somewhat round, and the feet of the 4th pairs of legs have a "crack" and bend in them. This can be viewed on a fresh molt or maybe if the spider is resting on the sides of it's enclosure. Here is an example of a phlogius specimen
    P.Rubiseta female ^


    These are what i would call a "true Australian tarantula", as they have a unique appearance compared to many other species and are endemic to Australia unlike Phlogius, Selenocosmia and Coremiocnemis. They are commonly referred to as 'Featherlegs' due to their 3rd and 4th pairs of legs being covered in fuffy hairs, while the 1st and 2nd pairs only have a few. The 4th legs are also generally equal to or longer than the length of the 1st. The head and abdomen seem to appear more rectangular than Phlogius. They are slightly more docile than our other genus' and generally are obligate burrowers. Here is an example of a Selenotypus specimen
    Selenotypus sp. female^


    These are a tiny bit tricky, they look like a fusion between Phlogius and Selenotypus with lots of fluff on all legs. They can be ID'd by the presence of whats called a "foveal groove". This is a small nook roughly in the middle of the top of the thorax. Here as an example of a Selenotholus specimen.
    Selenotholus Kotzman female^


    These ones are a bit hard as some species tend to appear like other genus'. S.Stirlingi is the most widespread of all Australian tarantulas and looks a bit in shape like Selenotypus, however the 1st pair of legs is longer and thicker and the 4th and they lack any dense leg hair. I dont have any specimens to show as a reference but you can search them up.


    These are probably the hardest to ID, they look alot like phlogius and have only been discovered in Australia pretty recently. I have a sling but it is hardly good comparison. Their adult size is a bit smaller than most Phlogius though so you may have to wait until they mature to disinguish them from a Phlogius specimen

    Hope any Aussies reading this thread will benefit, but for more detailed information i strongly reccomend looking at Steve Nunn's website.

    Fun Facts:
    *All Aussie Ts are old world
    *All Aussie Ts can hiss, some new species are even being nicknamed "rattlesnake tarantulas"
    *No Aussie T species is known to kick urticating hairs
    *Almost every species of theraphosid in Australia is brown in colour
    *The biggest species, Phlogius Crassipes, grows to about 20-22cm (8") DLS
    *The smallest known species, the pygmy rainforest tarantula, can be kept communally
    *There is no truly arboreal species in Australia; some individuals may occupy tree hollows though
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  2. Rhino1

    Rhino1 Arachnoknight Active Member

    Well done for taking the time to post this.
    Australian species are a hard one to keep up with all these reclassification shenanigans, and yes Ive seen a few for sale lately that are being sold under the wrong species title.
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  3. Venom1080

    Venom1080 Arachnoemperor

    Nice thread.
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  4. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    Thx man! Welcome to the forum as well :) nice to have another Aussie here, there aren't many of us :hilarious: the other week I saw a Selenotypus sp. advertised as Phlogius Kuranda, so I definitely feel like people should take the time to try and work out what they have. My previous Selenotypus Plumebo was actually sold to me as Phlogius Rubiseta, and the owner had kept it for 4 years!
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  5. Rhino1

    Rhino1 Arachnoknight Active Member

    Hey mate, I appreciate the welcome.
    Ive been looking through your posts on here and as I'm not on Facebook or any other social media I intend on hanging around and getting back up to date with the classifications and all the new sub species etc
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  6. korg

    korg Arachnobaron Active Member

    I thought the quickest way was to PM you? (haha)

    Do most keepers in Australia still use the genus Phlogius? I thought technically the "resurrection" of Phlogius was rejected so WSC lists all Phlogius as Selenocosmia still? I've been keeping my crassipes as S. crassipes... but I am very open to doing whatever is best in terms of the nomenclature!
  7. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    These days it is far more common to see Phlogius over Selenocosmia, and I think that Phlogius is actually going to take in alot the ones that are classified as Selenocosmia. It's pretty common to see "Phlogius Crassipes" for sale here occasionally. I do think we actually have both genus present, bringing the number of Australian theraphosid genus to 5. What I'm REALLY interested in is a new species discovered around Darwin I think that lives nearly entirely underwater, and since none of the current genus we have are known to do that, I wonder if we will get a new genus sometime soon
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  8. Dundeemac

    Dundeemac Arachnopeon

    Hey guys! New member here and very new to the hobby. I just bought a couple of slings from a vendor in QLD that were sold as Phlogius sp. and when I asked then to further classify which Phlogius this was their reply
    "The exact species is unknown – it is ‘Phlogius sp’. but currently all are classified as Phlogius crassipes until Dr Robert Raven’s taxonomical review on the Theraphosidae family is completed. We breed our own Phlogius sp. from Kuranda, but the origin of this current batch is unknown as they originated from another breeder who doesn’t know the original collection location. It appears to be very similar to the species being called Phlogius crassipes ‘Eunice’, however until the official key is published we can’t be sure. It’s more than likely that some of the species being sold under different names will end up being the same species, just slightly different geographic forms."

    So I am still understandably confused as they leaned towards saying they're P Crassipes but then went further by saying Kuranda. Does that mean the miranda is a sub species?
    The slings are still too small to compare them to the pics in this thread (super helpful by the way, thanks!) but hopefully after a few molts I'll know more and keep you updated IMG_20190131_181931_242.jpg
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  9. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    Phlogius species are virtually impossible to differentiate, especially after decades of hybridisation. There are several exceptions though.
    Black is usually Rubiseta, Sarina (VERY rare), or Kuranda
    Red is usually Stents or Rubiseta
    Blue is 100% pq113/blue leg form, or has a dominant blue gene from that species passed down through breeding.

    Brown can be any number of things from Goliath and Strennus to Crassipes and Prosperine, not counting the several additional "forms" of Crassipes and others like Black Presley and Kuttabul.

    Even going off the mentioned colours for IDing Phlogius is pretty tricky and often inaccurate, it's best (to the fullest extent possible)to get the collection locale.

    Keep an eye on your slings as they grow, send me some photos on here (start a conversation with me or tag me in a gallery entry), I should at the very least be able to tell you their sex once they reach 5cm diagonal legspan
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  10. Dundeemac

    Dundeemac Arachnopeon

    Thanks dude! Appreciate the quick response and support. I'll definitely keep you posted re. their progress.
    There was a typo in my original post when I mistakenly wrote miranda instead of kuranda.
    From what I can gather the vendor thinks their P. Crassipes Eunice or Kuranda.
    It's a frustrating head scratcher that will only be revealed by time!
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  11. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    No worries. Just wait and see what their ultimate molt reveals (my Rubiseta went from bright red to jet black with her ultimate, so colours can change drastically)
  12. Dundeemac

    Dundeemac Arachnopeon

    What is the Ultimate molt?
  13. Dundeemac

    Dundeemac Arachnopeon

    I found the info. All good
  14. Rhino1

    Rhino1 Arachnoknight Active Member

    Hey mate, welcome to the hobby @RezonantVoid is very helpful and knows his stuff.
    Although frustrating it can also be a little bit exciting and honestly it won't take long to get to the juvenile, sub adult stage.
    If captive bred there's a fair chance that it could be a mongrel with no specific locale, but it's not a bad thing imo, we are still at the tip of iceberg of breeding and what we can do with what we have. The joys of being an aussie T enthusiast.
    Good luck
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  15. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    Here's a higher quality, less fuzzy image of Selenotholus, the other one is pretty low quality

    Depending on how big your phone screen is, her size is pretty much exactly the same as the size of the photo without tapping it and zooming in
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  16. Dundeemac

    Dundeemac Arachnopeon

    [QUOTE="Rhino1, post: 2896458, member: 134931
    If captive bred there's a fair chance that it could be a mongrel with no specific locale,
    Good luck[/QUOTE]

    Seriously? So tarantulas are like dogs and can breed with similar species? I did NOT know that! Wow
  17. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    Seriously? So tarantulas are like dogs and can breed with similar species? I did NOT know that! Wow[/QUOTE]
    Not always the case, but Phlogius and Selenotypus in particular seem capable of it because each species is so similar to each other. Selenotypus are worse because they grow so slowly that it takes ages to work out what they have in them.

    [Edit] once they mature, Crassipes would have about 22cm diagonal legspan and Kuranda would have about 16-18cm DLS, you'll be able to tell once they reach that ultimate molt because of new colouration
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  18. Rhino1

    Rhino1 Arachnoknight Active Member

    Was more along the lines of say phlogiellus Proserpine and say oh I dunno phlogius hirsutus or maybe Kuttabul and blue leg, any resulting progeny won't be locale specific.
    There's a woman in Brisbane who has bred champagne robustus with S. bannana and sells the same slings as 2 different species ffs, technically these slings are mongrels imo.
    Look man, I don't agree with it but pairings of m/f T's going by what a pet shop reckons they have on the shelf easily leads to this through no fault of the breeder as well, I would be reluctant to do this in fear of raising 200 slings that turn out to be inferior or infertile, it's in the best interests of the hobby to keep them as they are to some extent, but I suppose there is also a possibility to create something new, pretty, bigger, meaner or just down right fantastic, although there is inherent risks of doing so and if nature hasn't already done this in the last few thousand years chances are pretty slim.
  19. Nightstalker47

    Nightstalker47 Arachnoking

    If any Aussies have questions with regards to their native tarantula species, Ill be sure to point them to this thread. Nice job man.
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