M. balfouri death

LuiziBee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
321
Back story:

In late 2012 / early 2013 I received a pair of Monocentropus balfouri slings and decided to keep them together. I also have a third female one who is kept separate.

Flash forward several years to today:

A local friend of mine is buying a few MM balfouri and a female. I know at least two of my three balfouri are female. The third one is unknown, because obviously if I have two together and only find female exuvia occasionally, that means one (not sure which) is female, and one is unknown. Neither of them really leave their burrow, either. They are truely a rare sight. So tonight I start digging to separate the twins so I can figure out exactly what I've got to offer this breeding project. I pull out one large, gorgeous, obviously female balfouri and get her into her new enclosure and then start digging, digging, digging. I was about to give up when suddenly, I find a small pocket in the substrate and a small, shriveled body. My OTHER BALFOURI! Dead as can be. ZZOOMMBBIIEE BALFOURI!! Upon inspection, and searching around for other legs and pedipalps, this tarantula was not a mature male. I have no idea when it passed away, and it obviously wasn't eaten, either. After speaking with some friends, we think, perhaps, it may have been overpowered by the other balfouri and she hogged all the food at it starved to death? What do you think are the odds of that and how often, if at all do you think that happens? Otherwise, I'd say it was kind of a freak thing that happened. Interesting, anyway. At least I know I have two females. And I think it's cool that even if the other balfouri was sick or dying or whatever happened to to it, it's sibling still did not eat him.

RIP little dude.

Pictures:







 

Haksilence

Bad At Titles
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
405
at that size, assuming you were offering an appropriate amount of feeders, i doubt the female was capable of CONSISTENTLY hogging the feeders. it takes an astronomical amount of time for a tarantula to actually starve to death. She would be MUCH more apparently overweight f she had been consistently eating for two. While this is absolutely a possibility its abdomen does not scream starved t to me.

Given that M Balfouri are just about the only species known the Co-habitate in the wild, and appear to do so intentionally i doubt it was killed by the female, but again its a possibility (albeit IMO an unlikely one)

given the size of its abdomen, the lack of setea on its patella i suspect it was either stuck in a molt or had complications post molt and the carcass had just been down there for a while. given its size id guess it was at least 2 molts behind your female, so its probably been down there for quite some time.

seeing as there arent any clear puncture marks (besides the damage on the left side of the carapace, which looks to me like it had just cracked and caved in as the body decayed) my money would either be a stuck molt of a post molt complication.
 

KezyGLA

Arachnoking
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Messages
3,033
It would be difficult to determine cause of death this long after death. I'm sorry to hear you lost one. :(
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
1,899
Even in a single tarantula enclosure it is not uncommon to lose a tarantula for unknown reasons. The odds are that you will never really know what caused the death. From the lack of trauma and its abdomen size I would agree with @Haksilence that it was of natural causes. It could have been a bad molt or it could of had internal issues that are not easily apparent.

As far as feeding goes, I place the same amount that I would normally feed around the enclosure. If all of it gets eaten I place a few more food items in there until there is food left. This makes for well fed Ts and also ensures that all the Ts have access to plenty of food.

I have two M.balfouri communal enclosures (one with 3 and one with 4 tarantulas) and it is hard to tell how they are doing at times. Is the one that is out the same one I saw last time? Is it the other one? Is size an indicator when they are roughly molting at the same rate? I sometimes go weeks in between times where I can sight all three (or 4) of the Ts at the same time. This makes it really hard to know if something is going wrong with one of the Ts.

To me this is one of the downsides of a communal.
 
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LuiziBee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
321
I'll agree that I believe it may have been from natural causes. Especially since, when they were both tiny and I saw them all the time, they would share meals, drink water together, etc. Would seem weird for her to suddenly not want to share. Absolutely fascinating tarantulas, truely. This also explains why the live female is so fat right now, because she's been eating for two this whole time, since the other passed hahaha.

Hopefully if I end up with any offspring from this little project my local friend and I are doing, I can start a better communal. But I think I'll go with a little less substrate and does more web anchors. These two had a good 6-7" and once they hit about 2-2.5 " DLS they went into perpetual hiding, where I only ever got a glimpse maybe once a year. More
 

Jeff23

Arachnolord
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
621
I don't know much about balfouri or communal setups. But I have a curiosity question for a communal setup. I suppose this requires extra prey to insure all T's have plenty food available. While I suppose the plan is to track what is being eaten or extra and needs to be removed it seems like a burrowing T creates a quandary for keeping crickets, roaches, etc. out of the burrow during a molt. Is there a trick to this or is it always a roll of the dice?

I am sorry about your loss of the balfouri. They are beautiful T's.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
1,899
I don't know much about balfouri or communal setups. But I have a curiosity question for a communal setup. I suppose this requires extra prey to insure all T's have plenty food available. While I suppose the plan is to track what is being eaten or extra and needs to be removed it seems like a burrowing T creates a quandary for keeping crickets, roaches, etc. out of the burrow during a molt. Is there a trick to this or is it always a roll of the dice?

I am sorry about your loss of the balfouri. They are beautiful T's.
They can require more food, but I've found that once they fatten up they eat about the same amount that they would have if they were kept separate. You are right, with a lot fo Ts in the enclosure (that you don't know if they are in premolt or not) it could be difficult to keep feeders like crickets out of the web/dirt tunnels. It would be hard to keep track of if they were being eaten or if they are hiding in the tunnels. I personally solve this by using prekilled prey. I feed Dubias, so I crush the heads and pull the main legs off. They will wiggle (which the Ts like) but will not go very far from where I placed them. This allows me to keep track of what has been eaten and what hasn't. Provide cleanup as needed. It also ensures that they can't cause issues if one or more of the Ts are in premolt/molting.
 
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