Communal Species

SkyeSpider

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While working on my degree, I did several studies on the communal tollerance of Avicularia sp. No matter how I tweaked the variables, every case was just a matter of time before there would be canibalism. While they are more tollerant of others, they still can't be considered communal.

I heard similar rumblings about Pokies that are kept together in groups from the time they hatch. I have never tested this one, but I'm dubious. I've never seen any studies to confirm it, other than random anecdotes.

Now I'm noticing newer species in the hobby that are considered to be truly communal, and in one case considered better to be kept in groups. The two species that spring to mind are M. balfouri and T. psychedelicus. Are there any others? What proof is there of them being truly communal and not just tollerant? What kind of setups are being used to house these groups? What are the interactions like between the individual spiders?

Due to the work I did with Avicularia, I'm extremely curious about these newer species to the hobby. I'd really like to know more. :)
 

Venom1080

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never heard of communal T psychedelicus... theres lots of pictures of pokie communal s on the Ab facebook group but ive heard they fail as often they work. M balfouri are slowly becoming the most popular communal species. i know @Blue Jaye and @Trenor have communals of them.
i would love a Avicularia communal, but like you, i have never seen a success with them. shame really, that would make a awesome viv.
 

Rittdk01

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H gigas have been kept in groups. I bought 3 with plans to keep them in the same enclosure after seeing several communals. I decided not to risk it and have larry, curly and Moe in separate housing.
 

cold blood

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@Poec54 had posted a while back regarding some German studies and it had listed all the pokies and how long they could be considered "communal"....It seems many are fine when young, but by about 2" you're just awaiting a slaughter.

IMO the lone true communal in the hobby is M. balfouri....everything else is just an experiment waiting to go wrong. (and not an experiment I would attempt, or encourage others to attempt)

I'm personally not a fan of communals, I see them as people forcing something unnatural on a species for their own personal interest....balfouri aside.

I laugh every time I read that avics are communal (this was once a common belief)...fact is that your experiences with them, mirror just about all previous experiments.....and I don't consider temporary communals to be actual communals...just ts that are a little more tolerant of one another, but not communal.

M. balfouri does appear to be the exception to the rule though, with groups exhibiting what I would consider true communal behavior and virtually no cannibilization. Its even been observed by long time communal keepers that this species seems to grow much faster in a communal setting than a solo setting.....they also share kills on a regular basis.

@Blue Jaye has had a lot of experience with balfouri communals, she may chime in eventually to share.
 

Christian Jocson

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I've seen plenty of pokie communal set-up. A friend of mine had 20-30 P.metallicas ranging from 3-4.5" :anxious:

A question that always comes to mind with me is what if the communal is temporarily separated for shipping purposes. Would they continue to thrive in a successful communal when separated for a couple days?
 

KezyGLA

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T. psych communal is an expensive experiment. I have never seen this or even heard of it being tried before. Maybe with good reason.

I believe some Poecilotheria, H. gigas and Heterothele/Holothele/Neoholothele can be raised together until larger juveniles, but beyond that the cannibalism will start.

The only species that I believe to be truly communal is M. balfouri as they have been observed in both wild and captivity living together and feeding together. There has been multiple MMs and AFs seen living in the same burrows/webs, mating and continuing to live side by side.
 
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KezyGLA

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A question that always comes to mind with me is what if the communal is temporarily separated for shipping purposes. Would they continue to thrive in a successful communal when separated for a couple days?
Yes. I have split and sold on M. balfouri slings/juvies and adults from different sacs which have been separated for a while and then placed in communal set ups when reaching the new owners without problem.
 

mistertim

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Damn. I agree with @KezyGLA. That's a VERY expensive experiment if you're thinking of doing it with T. psych. No way would I chance that. I wouldn't mind doing an M. balfouri communal some day though as they appear to have a very high success rate.
 

Christian Jocson

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Yes. I have split and sold on M. balfouri slings/juvies and adults from different sacs which have been separated for a while and then placed in communal set ups when reaching the new owners without problem.
Wow that's impressive. Makes me want to pick up a small communal of balfouri.

I'd like to experiment with the longevity of a small p.metallica communal. Once I receive half of my owed egg sac I might give it a try
 

Sana

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I go back and forth on my opinion of communal setups. They sound super neat in concept but @Poec54 pointed out some time ago that with multiple tarantulas in a single enclosure feeding and maintenance could become a real bear trying to keep track of several simultaneously when opening the enclosure. To the best of my knowledge, as many have mentioned, M. balfouri is the only species that I feel comfortable calling communal. The observations of shared burrows in the wild leads me to that. I haven't seen research of other species living in groups like that, though if someone has links to some it would be super interesting to me.
 

SkyeSpider

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Nice to see all these replies. :)

I did my studies with Avicularia sp to see if science could confirm or disprove any of the rumors about them being communal. Everything was anecdotes before that. Pinktoes are my absolute favorite tarantulas (any species in that genus), so that made it even more fun.

The M. balfouri interests me a lot. I've seen some neat notes about the males even showing homosexual tendencies (so cool!). Still, how confirmed is their ability to coexist? Have their been actual published studies, or is it just word of some hobbiests? If it is just hobbiests, how many have been able to confirm this? What kind of setups are they using for the groups (size, hides, etc)? I'm incredibly curious about them after my experiements all disproved this so clearly. I think it would be really cool to actually have a group of something.
 

KezyGLA

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Still, how confirmed is their ability to coexist? Have their been actual published studies, or is it just word of some hobbiests? If it is just hobbiests, how many have been able to confirm this? What kind of setups are they using for the groups (size, hides, etc)? I'm incredibly curious about them after my experiements all disproved this so clearly. I think it would be really cool to actually have a group of something.
I doubt there is much to go on when it comes to scientific papers on communal tendencies with M. balfouri. I know a few keepers that have 20-30 in their enclosures. When it comes to hobbiests keeping this many successfully then scientific papers dont have huge impact. If they have already been proven can live, hunt and breed together without issue.

Users on this forum keep communals. @Trenor is one that I can think off the top of my head just now.

I'm sure some more users that keep of large balfouri communal setups will chime in too.
 
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KezyGLA

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I had 2 adult females and 3 mature males 1 immature female and 6 unsexed housed in a 65L RUB without any problem. All these spiders but 3 unsexed were not sacmates and introduced at different times. Lived in harmony :)
 

Christian Jocson

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I had 2 adult females and 3 mature males 1 immature female and 6 unsexed housed in a 65L RUB without any problem. All these spiders but 3 unsexed were not sacmates and introduced at different times. Lived in harmony :)
How big were the additional 3 unsexed specimens compared to the others?
 

KezyGLA

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Unsexed grown on at 1-1.5 inches. The MMs 2 were around 3.5 inch max the other big for MM at 4 inch, 1 huge mature female at 6 inches, 1 other at 4.5 inch and immature at 3inch. 3 other unsexed at 2 inches. Forgot to mention an immature male at 2 inches when introduced. He is now 3 inches and the only one I have left.
 

Andrea82

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Nice to see all these replies. :)

I did my studies with Avicularia sp to see if science could confirm or disprove any of the rumors about them being communal. Everything was anecdotes before that. Pinktoes are my absolute favorite tarantulas (any species in that genus), so that made it even more fun.

The M. balfouri interests me a lot. I've seen some neat notes about the males even showing homosexual tendencies (so cool!). Still, how confirmed is their ability to coexist? Have their been actual published studies, or is it just word of some hobbiests? If it is just hobbiests, how many have been able to confirm this? What kind of setups are they using for the groups (size, hides, etc)? I'm incredibly curious about them after my experiements all disproved this so clearly. I think it would be really cool to actually have a group of something.
If you still have the result of the study you did, i would be highly interested in reading it. It doesn't matter so much that it failed in the end, i am just super curious about all the info :).
 

SkyeSpider

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If you still have the result of the study you did, i would be highly interested in reading it. It doesn't matter so much that it failed in the end, i am just super curious about all the info :).
I'll have to see if I still have the file. It wasn't published online, only in print. I had a harddrive crash after it and only saved 1/4 of the drive, so it may not have been one of the ones that made it.
 

KezyGLA

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I know this is a long shot but I would like to hear if anyone has raised any of the Dolichothele sp. communally as I have a feeling D. bolivianum may do quite well. Mine were good together for a while but seperated quite early as they are rare here and I didnt want to risk them. If anyone has tried them before I would appreciate the details.
 
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