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Harpactira pulchripes

Michael Jacobi

Old Timer
Mar 17, 2003
First USA Breeding of Harpactira pulchripes: Brief Notes and Pictorial Report

©2015 - Michael Jacobi - Huntley, Illinois USA

In March 2013, I imported what I believe was the first Harpactira pulchripes on USA soil. It was a third or fourth molt spiderling. The cost was incredible and I only got one. As these things go, he was male and died a very lonely virgin within 14 months. In September 2013, I imported a handful more and those I kept also were all male. The project was off to a frustrating and expensive start. In early 2014, I was able to purchase an adult group of 1.2 from a German seller for an obscene amount of money. It seemed the only way I was getting females. After a series of scares and mishaps between Germany and Florida that I won't go into here, these 3 adult "golden blue-legged baboon spiders" finally arrived at my home in the country over an hour west of Chicago. I was literally sitting in a rental cargo van waiting on the FedEx driver. You see, it was the Friday of the 1st Annual ArachnoGathering and I was on my way to set up my booth for the March NARBC in Tinley Park. My friends at the Tinley show were able to see these prized and valuable spiders up close. They were alive and gorgeous. One adult male and two females, one much smaller and barely mature, the other huge and of larger size than I thought the species reached.

Jump ahead to October 2014, the larger female still hadn't molted in the seven months I'd had her, but the smaller female molted May 31, 2014. I paired her with one of my several ultimate males on October 14, 2014 while my friend Jason "newlander85" Newland looked on. Mating was instantly successful (see photos below). I posted the mating pix here on Arachnoboards at http://www.arachnoboards.com/threads/268522-Harpactira-pulchripes-MATING-PIX right after the pairing. I also posted these on Facebook between this date and October 23. In mid-November to early December I was on a field trip in Sri Lanka photographing Poecilotheria subfusca and P. ornata. While I was out of the country Jason also successfully paired the larger female (11.14.14), but I always thought she needed a molt and was never hopeful.

I spent the first half of February in Malaysia and later Japan and returned home for only two days before getting back on a plane to head to the UK to lecture for the BTS. As soon as I returned from Asia I checked on both females. The smaller female had a small abdomen and in my jet lagged haze I was unsure whether she molted or produced a sac. But I could see that her enclosure had become horribly moldy so I began to dig it up for a changeout and quickly found the hammock sac. Although I've been breeding tarantulas for decades, I had never taken a hammock style sac away from the female. I have hatched 100% of them in the enclosure. But now I had no choice but to remove the sac for incubation outside the enclosure. Hammock sacs attach at either end and there is plenty of excess silk, so I suspended it much as it was, only I positioned it in a deli cup over moist paper towel.

On February 28, 2014, the big female finally molted. Although this was disappointing since she was mated in November, I have two mature males, two penultimate males and even two friends with males as final reserves. So I hope to get this female paired within the next week or two.

I checked on the sac frequently and on March 11, 2015 I noticed the contents of the sac were darker. Either bad eggs were molding or good nymphs were darkening. I opened the sac and it was pure joy as I looked at perhaps 50 post embryos. Prior to checking on the sac I had been on a phone call with my longtime friend and fellow spider man Frank Somma, and I instantly called Frank back to share the good news. Because of the odd circumstances of incubating my first hammock sac outside of the enclosure I was very reluctant to "count my chickens before they hatched". The only person I had told that I had the sac incubating was another close friend and confidant, Chad 'advan' Campbell. On March 14, 2015, I returned from the ArachnoGathering and NARBC weekend to find that all of the post embryos had successfully molted to 1st instar (last photos) and only one had suffered during this molt and was deformed. I'll post back here when they molt to 2nd instar and are separated and later fed.

Female just after import in March 2014

Male prior to maturity

Ultimate male - this is a recent pic and not the male used

Mating #1

Mating #2

Mating #3

Mating #4

Female after mating


1st instar

1st instar (cropped image)

For additional pix and timeline see my Harpactira pulchripes photo thread here on AB at https://arachnoboards.com/threads/harpactira-pulchripes.250136/

On April 6, 2015 the 1st instar Harpactira pulchripes began to molt to 2nd instar "spiderlings".

April 6, 2015 Harpactira pulchripes "sling" collage.

On April 7 most had completed their molt and this short video clip was shot:

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Video of 2nd instars prior to being individually housed

2nd instar USA produced Harpactira pulchripes
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