Sense of Smell For Tarantula

Jeff23

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How well is the tarantula's sense of smell? I was reading in the handbook about breeding and it was stating that the female and male can use smell to detect the other is/was present in the area. Is this true?

And if so, does this mean those of us who open and close multiple containers with spiders may possibly create a disturbance for a spider if we touch something in one T's container and then touch something in a second spider's container. Sometimes I touch the substrate to verify its moisture. Or I am sometimes swapping out water containers.
 

Ranitomeya

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I'm sure they release pheromones that might be airborne, but most of the pheromones are laid with the silk to allow other tarantulas know who resides within the web. You'll notice that tarantulas lay down a very thin layer of silk wherever they go. This could allow other tarantulas know if they're following the trail of another and may aid a male in finding their way to a female's den.

You are probably transferring pheromones and hydrocarbons from one enclosure to another through touching things, but I doubt you're disturbing them too much by doing so. Tarantula colonies tend to consist of large numbers of individuals within relatively small areas, so they're bound to naturally encounter signs of each other. I have no doubt they'd also be able to tell whether they're detecting traces of another tarantula versus the actual presence of a tarantula as well as whether or not it's a new or old chemical signature as these things do fade over time. If it's not a potential mate, an aggressor, or food, they'll probably not be bothered by it aside from maybe investigating it by tasting and smelling with their pedipalps.
 

Jeff23

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I am still learning how to get the moisture right for slings. There is a need sometimes to fix a problem where you accidentally get put much moisture (or the spider keeps creating spills by putting substrate in the water dish). The easiest solution for a spider where you can avoid disturbing its hide/burrow/nest is to swap out some substrate that is too moist with some small spoon(s) of drier substrate. I have been wondering if this creates a condition where the spider no longer recognizes this area (smell or other detection) and then gets confused or nervous. But it sounds like it is nothing to worry about as long as I am only affecting a small area.
 

viper69

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I have been wondering if this creates a condition where the spider no longer recognizes this area (smell or other detection) and then gets confused or nervous. But it sounds like it is nothing to worry about as long as I am only affecting a small area.
I don't think there are any peer-reviewed articles on T pheromones. If wrong, would love to read them. It is believed the female lays them out on the silk to attract males.

As for the quote. In the case of terrestrials, it isn't that they don't recognize it per se as substrate. However, w/a large enough region replaced they do know it's different. I've observed their behavior may times across different NW species.

The most immediate effect w/new sub is the trip wires are removed. As a result the T doesn't notice crickets in on the new sub that well, or at times not at all. I have observed crickets bunching up on new sub, and the T will walk right by them, and not even notice.

This changes in time as they will cover that region sooner or later.
 

Jeff23

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I don't think there are any peer-reviewed articles on T pheromones. If wrong, would love to read them. It is believed the female lays them out on the silk to attract males.

As for the quote. In the case of terrestrials, it isn't that they don't recognize it per se as substrate. However, w/a large enough region replaced they do know it's different. I've observed their behavior may times across different NW species.

The most immediate effect w/new sub is the trip wires are removed. As a result the T doesn't notice crickets in on the new sub that well, or at times not at all. I have observed crickets bunching up on new sub, and the T will walk right by them, and not even notice.

This changes in time as they will cover that region sooner or later.
I understand what you are saying on the trip wires. I know that Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (GBB), Hapolopus sp. Colombia (PP) and others web up a huge amounts on the ground. I don't mess with their substrate. My arboreals seem to be webbing up a lot on the vertical objects but the links to the ground are probably getting broken every time I tilt an AMAC container to do any cleanup or insert crickets. I don't see much of any web in most of my other terrestrial enclosures (G. pulchripes, Euathlus sp. 'Red', Eupalaestrus Campestratus). Are the web links there but less thick and visible?
 

viper69

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I understand what you are saying on the trip wires. I know that Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (GBB), Hapolopus sp. Colombia (PP) and others web up a huge amounts on the ground. I don't mess with their substrate. My arboreals seem to be webbing up a lot on the vertical objects but the links to the ground are probably getting broken every time I tilt an AMAC container to do any cleanup or insert crickets. I don't see much of any web in most of my other terrestrial enclosures (G. pulchripes, Euathlus sp. 'Red', Eupalaestrus Campestratus). Are the web links there but less thick and visible?
When I was referencing terrestrials I meant all of them, not heavy webbers hah. All terrestrials I've owned (minus I. mira) have webbed up the entire container floor with very fine barely noticeable layer of silk. Often not noticed until I spot clean, and a thin carpet gets pulled up a bit hah.

You can see them do this all the time when you first put them in a new container (not immediately necessarily), but once the start walking around on the sub, their spinnerets are constantly at work. Once they are used to their home, they do it much less frequently.

Yeah at least my Avics are not as affected as much IME.
 

Estein

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Here is a recent peer-reviewed article that discusses evidence for chemoreceptors on tarsi. It's not smell, but seems pertinent since it's another way for a tarantula to sense its surroundings. Unfortunately, the paper doesn't go into how sensitive these chemoreceptors are or what chemicals they would be attuned to--it's mostly disagreeing with a previous paper suggesting that Ts have spigots on their feet, so morphology is the main focus.

At the very least, it supports the idea that a T is capable of sensing other Ts that have left chemical clues, but how they react or whether they are disturbed at all (as @Ranitomeya discussed) is something I hope to see more info on. Regardless, I thought it was an interesting read!
 

viper69

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Here is a recent peer-reviewed article that discusses evidence for chemoreceptors on tarsi. It's not smell, but seems pertinent since it's another way for a tarantula to sense its surroundings. Unfortunately, the paper doesn't go into how sensitive these chemoreceptors are or what chemicals they would be attuned to--it's mostly disagreeing with a previous paper suggesting that Ts have spigots on their feet, so morphology is the main focus.

At the very least, it supports the idea that a T is capable of sensing other Ts that have left chemical clues, but how they react or whether they are disturbed at all (as @Ranitomeya discussed) is something I hope to see more info on. Regardless, I thought it was an interesting read!
I have the original article that Foelix is referencing using EM. It was very interesting, THOSE authors suggested the silk from the "feet" contributed to them walking on vertical/horizontal surfaces. Then this paper came out.
 

viper69

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Estein

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I have the original article that Foelix is referencing using EM. It was very interesting, THOSE authors suggested the silk from the "feet" contributed to them walking on vertical/horizontal surfaces. Then this paper came out.
I read that one too and thought it was interesting, although I've been pretty well convinced by Foelix (and others whose work he references) that simple surface adhesion is responsible for clinging to smooth surfaces. It's hard not to take seriously the words of the guy who literally wrote the book on spider biology. ;) What's your take?
 

cold blood

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I almost wonder if they meant virgin in the classic sense, or an annual (or molt to molt) sense. Because a female that's already been successfully paired, once re-introduced to the male or another male, the mood is noticeably different as the male often flees or just won't approach, and the ones that do are often treated as a meal more than a mate...which is why I don't re-pair if I think there was insertions.

Many, if not most of the ts I've bred (aside from the avics) were all grown from small slings and were virgins in the literal sense.

I'd be interested to hear from the other 3 you tagged, because they all have significantly more breeding experience than myself.
 
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viper69

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I read that one too and thought it was interesting, although I've been pretty well convinced by Foelix (and others whose work he references) that simple surface adhesion is responsible for clinging to smooth surfaces. It's hard not to take seriously the words of the guy who literally wrote the book on spider biology. ;) What's your take?
I agree, I think it's all on van der Waals forces.
 

viper69

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I almost wonder if they meant virgin in the classic sense, or an annual sense..
That's a good point. I don't technical know, but given the topic of the article, I'd almost best they mean the former, and not the latter. But, that's a good point I hadn't considered.
 

Jeff23

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When I was referencing terrestrials I meant all of them, not heavy webbers hah. All terrestrials I've owned (minus I. mira) have webbed up the entire container floor with very fine barely noticeable layer of silk. Often not noticed until I spot clean, and a thin carpet gets pulled up a bit hah.

You can see them do this all the time when you first put them in a new container (not immediately necessarily), but once the start walking around on the sub, their spinnerets are constantly at work. Once they are used to their home, they do it much less frequently.

Yeah at least my Avics are not as affected as much IME.
I can't see where my others are webbing at all, but I don't want to touch the areas and risk messing it up. I have removed a small amount of soil for all of my 1/3" Eupalaestrus Campestratus because they burrowed so much that the soil was piled up and touching the lid with the water dish completely covered in the 5 oz deli cups. I replaced a small amount of substrate in one of my G. pulchripes container because it was getting some kind of wicking event when it covered the water dish with soil. The soil would be soaked and the water dish empty. I really wasn't searching for web when I did these modifications though.

I wish someone sold smaller size arboreal acrylic containers with front doors on them. I only see large size ones. I don't mind paying extra for a nice container for my smaller female Avic's if it allows them to be presented in a nice really clear case that makes maintenance better for the spider and me. The deli cup is definitely better than the AMAC for feeding and avoiding the web.
 
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