Just how strong IS a tarantula's exoskeleton?

Moakmeister

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Oct 6, 2016
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I mean, we all know that the abdomen's exoskeleton might as well be skin because of how thin and fragile it is. What about the rest of the tarantula's body? Is the exoskeleton more dependable there? How hard are the chelicerae to prevent the fangs from being torn out? How hard are the legs to avoid breakage?
 

DrowsyLids

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I would imagine their exoskeleton isn't extremely hard. Im referring to resistance to being punctured, not ability to puncture something else, such as their fangs. In comparison to how diamonds cut glass I would guess a T's exo could be punctured by a thick blade of grass or a strand of hay if you get the right angle
 

DrowsyLids

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I probably got carried away I don't think a blade of grass would get through its exo after giving that some more thought.
 

Chris LXXIX

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Strong enough, man. Strong enough. Still less strong than our Messiah will: yes... I'm talking about Peanut :-s
 

Abyss

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Steong enough to get the job done. Its their "bones" but on the outside :)
 

Bugmom

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Tarantula exoskeletons are made of chitin. It's not as strong as the exoskeleton of, say, a crab, since crabs use calcium in their exos. It's strong, sure, for something that is the size of a tarantula. Compared to bones, or teeth, or even fingernails though, it's kinda weak, I think. It works very well for what it needs to work for, if you're a spider, but a spider generally isn't going to need to use strength the way we think of strength. Venom kills prey, or at least keeps it from struggling too much, and webbing can further immobilize prey. A spider doesn't rely on overpowering it's prey through brute strength. Widows, for example, bite the prey that is trapped in the web, then go about the business of wrapping it up. Tarantulas can do a lot of mechanical damage with a bite, and combined with venom, most prey is going to be "limp" quickly.

My point is that I don't think tarantula exoskeletons are very strong by my personal definitions. Molts crumble easily, and while they are hopefully stronger while still ON the tarantula, when you compare a crab's exo to a tarantulas, the difference makes tarantulas seem like they're protected by not much more than stiff paper.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than myself and my quick Google search will come along.
 

Moakmeister

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Oct 6, 2016
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Tarantula exoskeletons are made of chitin. It's not as strong as the exoskeleton of, say, a crab, since crabs use calcium in their exos. It's strong, sure, for something that is the size of a tarantula. Compared to bones, or teeth, or even fingernails though, it's kinda weak, I think. It works very well for what it needs to work for, if you're a spider, but a spider generally isn't going to need to use strength the way we think of strength. Venom kills prey, or at least keeps it from struggling too much, and webbing can further immobilize prey. A spider doesn't rely on overpowering it's prey through brute strength. Widows, for example, bite the prey that is trapped in the web, then go about the business of wrapping it up. Tarantulas can do a lot of mechanical damage with a bite, and combined with venom, most prey is going to be "limp" quickly.

My point is that I don't think tarantula exoskeletons are very strong by my personal definitions. Molts crumble easily, and while they are hopefully stronger while still ON the tarantula, when you compare a crab's exo to a tarantulas, the difference makes tarantulas seem like they're protected by not much more than stiff paper.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than myself and my quick Google search will come along.
Obviously they pale in comparison to something like a scorpion. That's why they so often are preyed upon by scorpions despite their size advantage. There exists somewhere on the internet one of those ridiculous Japanese Bug Fight videos of a P. imperator fighting against a P. muticus. The Emperor was totally dwarfed by the Baboon, but the Emperor won by a landslide. The Baboon got decimated. As upsetting as these videos are, they can be interesting. There were quite a few moments where the Baboon grabbed the Emperor's claw and tried to puncture it with its fangs, but they wouldn't go through. Which is REALLY a testament to the scorpion's armor, because I'm told that a big tarantula like that can puncture through a thick leather boot.
 
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