Possible nematodes ..

ireleana

Arachnopeon
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Nov 8, 2015
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Hi am new to boards as far as signing up but I am not new to the hobby. I recently purchased a Grammastola porteri (I am not mentioning by who as I am in email contact and working on resolving some issues with the seller and they seem to be taking it seriously so far). I usually get local from local breeders and I am upset I purchased online. I am assuming wild caught now and have not heard back if she is in fact wild caught. I know rosies can be weird and display behavior like constant roaming, long fasts etc.. I have over 30 tarantulas, all various genus/species, old world and new world. I have never seen any of my tarantulas constantly on the move and CONSTANTLY drinking and dipping it's fangs and mouth into the water dish and substrate. It is kinda skinny and will not eat. This is NOT a mature male. I can't be sure of the sex but I know it is not mature. It is more of a sub adult size, no hooks or bulbs etc.

The palps and chelicerae are not immobile although they seem different. There is no white discharge, yet anyways. But the mouth parts are constantly wet (assuming from all that dipping) and full of substrate. She is constantly dipping and laying in her water dish and pushing herself down into it, then she gets up and wanders around. Then back at it. Constantly over and over again. She also dips down into the substrate which is just dry cocohusk. I was reading the boards a while ago and listened to the advice of some members on here and tried out plain topsoil on a few T's and a scorpion ( still in the process of changing it all out again..). Biggest mistake EVER. I got so many fungus gnats and some phorid flies that are just now dwindling down as well as various mites which so far seems to be normal soil mites and not predatory to the T's. Might work for some but not for me lol. It is scaring me because although I have this rosie in a different room, I am worried of it spreading if she does have nematodes. I have been getting good results on the microfauna $%^$ storm that spread to my other enclosures, making sure everything is drying out. Except they love the water dishes lol! I take them out for a few days at a time and then put them back in and that seems to be helping. Anyways..

I put her in a little deli cup and made larger holes in it so I could get a swab and tongs into it. I managed to get some of that substrate out of her mouth and I swabbed her mouth and took it to work (microbiology, I am not a microbiologist. At least not yet lol). She managed to bite the swab a little so I know her chelicerae is still working somewhat anyways. I put it under the scope and also made a slide of the sub I took out of her mouth. Aside from various bacteria and fibers from the swab and substrate, I noticed some hook or curled looking worms. Small though and I can't be certain it isn't just normal flora or artifacts or regular little round worms or another type of nematode that is not harmful. Some were just bacteria but some caught my eye although I assumed the predatory tarantula nematodes to be larger? There was not a whole lot and I did not notice any eggs or fungi etc. The slide is not that good and I am going to take samples from her water dish when I get home and centrifuge that and check again.

Could this be nematodes or something else? Since she is not showing any white around her mouth, could this be possible to treat if it is early stage if that is what she has? I have a local vet who knows "some" stuff about tarantulas. Should I make a culture too? Should I do a gram stain? Can that help ID anything? I could probably get one of our microbiologists to help ID, although we quit doing worm and parasite ID's and send those out.

Also I wanted to sign up for the ATS site but it seems to be inactive and it wont let me register? Money is not too much of an issue because I really want to figure this out. So if there is anyplace I could send samples too for ID, or if she turns out to be infected, I could send her off for research and humane euthanasia? I am hoping it is nothing but this behavior is really odd to me. What else should I do to get confirmation? I am keeping her quarantined and am going to replace the sub and stuff again tonight or tomorrow before work. Sorry for the novel and thanks in advance for any help! I can post pics of the microscope slides tomorrow when I make more. My phone is dead and I am at work but I have some from today on my phone too.
 

ireleana

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
43
I will do my best as soon as I can. My phone is dead right now and I am going to make more slides tomorrow so hopefully I will get something useful.
 

cold blood

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I usually get local from local breeders and I am upset I purchased online.
This line caught me. You absolutely positively should NOT worry about online purchases as long as the places you buy from are reputable (and not reptile dealers).

Finding reputable dealers is easy...there's but a handful of places that are not. Most of us buy all our ts online and never have an issue. I have 100's, only 3 of which were bought locally (2 of which were WC), as this is typical of pet stores.

With your number of species I assume you have a good dealer or a unique pet store in your area. But I will tell you, the best variety and the best deals are all online unless you personally know a local breeder.

As for your current issue, there was a user here a while back that saved a t with nematodes by dipping its mouthparts into a saline solution...being that salt is a killer of such things. This was literally the only time I have heard of success with nematodes (which are incredibly rare)...but as the alternative is a death sentence, its worth a shot. Search around, you should be able to find the thread.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
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As for your current issue, there was a user here a while back that saved a t with nematodes by dipping its mouthparts into a saline solution...being that salt is a killer of such things. This was literally the only time I have heard of success with nematodes (which are incredibly rare)...but as the alternative is a death sentence, its worth a shot. Search around, you should be able to find the thread.
http://arachnoboards.com/threads/nematode-bacterial-infection.254858/

Now that was a read. This is why I love this site - today alone, I've learned quite a bit. Thanks for that, CB.
 

boina

Lady of the mites
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...I noticed some hook or curled looking worms. Small though and I can't be certain it isn't just normal flora or artifacts or regular little round worms or another type of nematode that is not harmful. Some were just bacteria but some caught my eye although I assumed the predatory tarantula nematodes to be larger? There was not a whole lot and I did not notice any eggs or fungi etc. The slide is not that good and I am going to take samples from her water dish when I get home and centrifuge that and check again...

Should I make a culture too? Should I do a gram stain? Can that help ID anything? I could probably get one of our microbiologists to help ID, although we quit doing worm and parasite ID's and send those out.
I'd love to see a pic of the slide. Do you have a photo-microscope in the lab?
Those curled looking worms sound a lot like nematodes, though. I think there are several species of nematodes that can infect tarantulas and some are definitely small. It could be an early stage infection that the tarantula tries to treat herself by dipping her mouth parts into water?
I can't think of what a gram stain would help for, though. It might make you see the amount of bacteria better, but for identification it's much to unspecific. You'd would expect some bacteria anyway on a T's mouth since that is certainly not a sterile place, but the amount of bacteria might give you a hint if it's an infection.
There are several protocols for staining nematodes online, but they all require special reagents (like collagenase for example), but if you are in a microbiology lab that used to do worm identification you may still have some laying around. I happen to know that most labs have a tendency to keep things for 'just in case', you know...
 

Rittdk01

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Oct 4, 2016
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I had one wild caught t stirmi that got sick less than a month after I had him. And a rose hair with any size to it is 99% wild caught unless it was someone's pet raised from a sling. I assume you moved the tarantula into a new enclosure recently. I think it's wondering from the move and drinking a bunch preparing to molt. The worm u saw could b related to your gnat and fly problems. If it has nematodes it will show some obvious signs. It will look like it's eating even when it moves and obviously having them come out the mouth. 40 days is what I have seen for how long till they are noticeable and the spider can be moved out of quarantine. The smaller the tarantula, the quicker it would show signs and die.
 

dopamine

Arachnobaron
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341
Isolate the tarantula first and foremost.

The longer you keep it around your other T's the higher the risk of spreading the infection.
 

ireleana

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IMG_20170216_113224.jpg Thanks IMG_20170216_113354.jpg IMG_20170216_113224.jpg IMG_20170216_113354.jpg IMG_20170216_113428.jpg for IMG_20170216_113224.jpg IMG_20170216_113354.jpg IMG_20170216_113428.jpg IMG_20170216_113537.jpg IMG_20170216_113455.jpg IMG_20170216_113625.jpg the replies! I was just curious if gram staining could help with identifying nematodes, I know it isn't a good id for bacteria except for seeing gram positive or gram negative. I'm not worried about bacterial infection, there was bacteria present but nothing specific in high quantities.

This tarantula is definitely not preparing to molt.. This is very odd behavior and I wish this site had a video upload section! I took it out again and cleaned the substrate out of the mouth area. One piece was stuck but I got it out with no incident. I noticed no white stuff at all. Just a very wet mouth but it is constantly dipping into the water dish. The left fang and chelicerae look stuck. The right is moveable but it seems like it is not at full range of motion. It was a little wobbly last night when I got home. I didn't want to stress it so I put it back after clearing out the substrate and went to bed. I feel horrible for this little turkey... I'm willing to try anything. I will try the salt water. But I'm not certain it is nematodes. What I'd the solution ratio? It won't hurt the tarantula? If it is nematodes I'm not worried about it hurting the t because the nematodes are already doing that but if it is not nematodes, I would hate to harm it more. Could the left fang be stuck and that's what she's trying to do, is get it unstuck?

Here are a few pics. They aren't that great because I used my phone and it is hard to get it to lock on lol. I'm going to take water samples from the dish and centrifuge it and make more slides tonight at work. I will post those later.
 

ireleana

Arachnopeon
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Nov 8, 2015
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I also got a Stirmi with this shipment. My initial issue was the horrible packing job. My stirmi was half dead. My stirmi is about 6 to 7 inch DLS and has been doing fine since I got them. It has eaten quite a bit and isn't showing any weird behavior. I had checked their mouth when I first unpacked and both seemed fine except my stirmi being in shock, curled a little and unable to hardly move. They packed it in a huge deli bowl with a chunk of wet moss rolling around on it.. They have said that they will definitely be making positive changes and take my advice in the way they pack and ship their tarantulas. So I'm reluctant to say the name but some of you will know automatically who it is by this picture. It was a reptile dealer. I have bought from Jamie's Tarantulas in the past and just last week as well and they are great! But I usually get from a local reptile store and I'm friends with the owner. She gets them from local breeders. My FAVORITE place to buy tarantulas is Bridges Pets. Its local and the only one in the country. They take good care of all their animals and they always have a huge selection of species and they are almost always slings or juvies and captive bred. Decent prices too. Its hard for me to not buy one every time I go in lololol...

Here is the pic of my stirmi before I took the tape off.. This is what they shipped it in! I was so livid! The Rosie came that way as well except instead of moss, there was dirt..
 

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boina

Lady of the mites
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I had a look at the pics and I do agree, that does look like nematodes, at least in general. A gram stain won't do anything for staining nematodes, though. Their skin is very tough and can withstand most stuff, so you have to get it permeable first, which why people use collagenase and such. It may be a minor or early infection, so you may not see the white stuff (the worms) just yet. The "stuck" fang is another bit of evidence pointing toward an early or milder nematode infection. I seriously doubt a fang could get stuck on... well, on what? Substrate? Something sticky? What and from where? Doesn't sound likely to me. I'd probably try the salt water cure. I've no clue how much salt was used in the thread but I'd just make a saturated solution (and possibly quickly rinse the spider off afterwards to get rid of all the salt on it's body?).

And reptile dealer really shouldn't ship spiders... ugh.
 

cold blood

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It was a reptile dealer.
There was your mistake...you wouldn't go to the fish store to buy a dog...you wouldn't go to a car dealer to buy a boat. And why would you....there's 100's of breeders specializing in healthy dogs and plenty of reliable boat dealers selling nice boats....same here, with hundreds of arachnid specific breeders and dealers, shopping at them for your arachnids should be the obvious choice.

IMO reptile dealers do this hobby a dis-service by trying to sell ts. They bring in vast amounts of wild caught, frequently mis-identify species they sell, often sell ts they haven't even acquired yet (known as drop shipping), frequently sell unsexed ts as sexed females (for much greater profit) and many (like your wonderful seller) don't even take the time to learn how to do a simple packing job for a spider. Notice how it doesn't go the other way around...I've never seen a dealer specializing in arachnids, selling reptiles....I don't know why these reptile dealers assume they can cross species from what they are familiar with, without any knowledge or experience at all, and provide a quality service.:meh: rant over:)

I just hope this bad experience can be seen for the oops it was and not as an indictment against shipping ts. I wish you nothing but the best with your future online purchases, I'm sure your future experiences will all mirror Jamies and not this place.

I'm actually shocked the stirmi was packed like that and survived...that's a tough t.

(BTW, naming dealers on the threads is not allowed, you're only allowed to discuss them in the review section)
 

Rittdk01

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
264
Lol I bought my favorite tarantula from there. First online purchase. NOBODY else ships anything like they do. Blackwater sends them from the original containers they were put in after being caught. Mine had dirt and a dry sponge for my poor girl. She molted and looks GORGEOUS half a year later. Buy from members on here. Trust me, best tarantulas at the best prices.
 

Crone Returns

Arachnoangel
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Mar 22, 2016
Messages
990

Crone Returns

Arachnoangel
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Mar 22, 2016
Messages
990
There was your mistake...you wouldn't go to the fish store to buy a dog...you wouldn't go to a car dealer to buy a boat. And why would you....there's 100's of breeders specializing in healthy dogs and plenty of reliable boat dealers selling nice boats....same here, with hundreds of arachnid specific breeders and dealers, shopping at them for your arachnids should be the obvious choice.

IMO reptile dealers do this hobby a dis-service by trying to sell ts. They bring in vast amounts of wild caught, frequently mis-identify species they sell, often sell ts they haven't even acquired yet (known as drop shipping), frequently sell unsexed ts as sexed females (for much greater profit) and many (like your wonderful seller) don't even take the time to learn how to do a simple packing job for a spider. Notice how it doesn't go the other way around...I've never seen a dealer specializing in arachnids, selling reptiles....I don't know why these reptile dealers assume they can cross species from what they are familiar with, without any knowledge or experience at all, and provide a quality service.:meh: rant over:)

I just hope this bad experience can be seen for the oops it was and not as an indictment against shipping ts. I wish you nothing but the best with your future online purchases, I'm sure your future experiences will all mirror Jamies and not this place.

I'm actually shocked the stirmi was packed like that and survived...that's a tough t.

(BTW, naming dealers on the threads is not allowed, you're only allowed to discuss them in the review section)
Blood pressure @cold blood , blood pressure lol. But I totally agree with you. The ts I got from some pp here have been superbly packed. I will never buy from a lps again.
 
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