Should Australia start allowing exotic T's?

RezonantVoid

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I searched around and couldnt find this topic discussed in detail.

Alot of us hobbyists down under (I'm no exception) have for a long time been drooling over the stuff available outside our borders. For the longest time i would have straight away answered with a resounding YES to the question in the title. But recently ive been giving this topic a bit of thought and genuinely surprised myself with my answer.

The allure for exotics stems from, at least for me, the beautiful array of colours found in non native genus, compared to our generally brown and grey natives. Over time, i have come to possess a far greater appreciation for this seemingly boring attribute, as it forces me to look at characteristics other than simply colour alone. This species has adorably fluffy legs, this one goes jet black with red setae after a molt, that one has bizarrely thick legs, etc. I now view our native species as an incomparable blessing! Not to mention experiences of so many undescribed species here just waiting for a classification. Theres probably tripple the amount of currently known species, if not far more, waiting to be found here by a determined hobbyist or scientist, which may never get the appreciation they deserve if they are outshined by a shiny pink Versicolor or the impressive size of a pokie.

And this brings me to the next point. There are countless examples i could use, but im just going to stick with one. The Manigrida Diving Tarantula was first found way back in 2004. The wild colony is believed to be the largest concentration of tarantulas in the world, and on top of that they spend what's presumed to be several MONTHS under flood waters when the Manigrida plains are submerged in the wet season. This is a massive and as far as i know unprecedented discovery among arachnids, one warranting serious scientific study.

This thing still doesnt have a scientific name. Let me mention a few others that alot of aussies have probably heard the names of thrown arround. The Rattlesnake tarantula, Ghost tarantula and blue/swamp tarantula. None of them have seemingly had any progress made towards giving them official classifications. This extends to nearly all our spider groups and especially non tarantula mygalomorphs.

So are we really in a position to start bringing in exotics in the near future, if we cant even work out what we have here or stop destroying populations of species we havn't even classified? My personal answer is, no. I would still love to own many exotic species, but i think i can hang tight and appreciate our own ones until we can fix the situation here a bit.

Id love to hear what other people's thoughts are on this, especially Aussies. Theres many other aspects of this (should it actually happen of course) that would make for interesting discussions such as economic or environmental factors. Thank you for reading
 

jrh3

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I could see it as a recipe for disaster as many species imported into Australia could easily form a population and thrive if let loose. Similar to here in the US. Florida has alot of problems with invasive species because it has habitat and weather to support many species. This would end up the case for Australia I believe. Also, when I think of Australia my mind goes to the last place that is natural and preserved. I know there are other places but thats how I like to imagine it until I actually get to visit.
 

nicodimus22

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While I'm not advocating that anyone break the law in regards to importation (and I never have myself) I've always found governments charging large amounts of money for importation licenses etc of non-native animals to be...shady at best.

Basically it's them saying: "It is absolutely illegal to bring this animal into the country because it can displace native species, disrupt the ecosystem, and also devastate the population of the animals being collected...but if you give us $500 or $1000 for a piece of paper when you do it, then there's no problem."

What? If what you said is true, then it should be illegal for those reasons. Me cutting you a check and getting a piece of paper doesn't magically make those problems go away.

I do understand that every species currently in the hobby was grabbed out of the wild at one point, so it would be somewhat hypocritical of me to shun the practice entirely. I would probably argue that limited harvesting/importation based on endangered status followed by captive breeding would be the best way to go, and allow both the wild and captive populations the best chance to continue. Unfortunately, there's always some idiot who lets pets go in the wild, as well as people who over-harvest wild specimens when they shouldn't, and that's why we can't have nice things. That small minority of people ruin it for everyone else, and we're back to making laws (which suddenly go away if you pay enough.)
 

RezonantVoid

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I could see it as a recipe for disaster as many species imported into Australia could easily form a population and thrive if let loose. Similar to here in the US. Florida has alot of problems with invasive species because it has habitat and weather to support many species. This would end up the case for Australia I believe. Also, when I think of Australia my mind goes to the last place that is natural and preserved. I know there are other places but thats how I like to imagine it until I actually get to visit.
This is also what i was thinking of with regards to environment. However i will say over the last 2 decades the increasing average temperature here has made many areas increasingly inhospitable to point ive seen entire wild and clearly well established colonies of primitives completely die off from the heat and lack of water. Even on the off chance an idiot releases a gravid specimen, i personally believe in many places aside from far north QLD that the environment would simply be too unsuitable for most exotic species to get a hold.
My biggest concern would be for exotic populations overseas. Greedy collectors would now have an entire massive country of keepers who have been thirsting after these species for decades. Prices skyrocket, as does the intensity of WC specimen collection
 

SonsofArachne

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i personally believe in many places aside from far north QLD that the environment would simply be too unsuitable for most exotic species to get a hold.
Knowing something about Australia's ecosystems, I was thinking along similar lines. Even without climate change, a majority of Australia would inhospitable to T's from tropical forests. Desert T are another matter though.

Greedy collectors would now have an entire massive country of keepers who have been thirsting after these species for decades. Prices skyrocket, as does the intensity of WC specimen collection
Not knowing much about the invert keeping community in Australia, do you think enough people would start keeping T's to make substantial difference.....or would it just give Europe another place to dump their extras;)
 

RezonantVoid

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Knowing something about Australia's ecosystems, I was thinking along similar lines. Even without climate change, a majority of Australia would inhospitable to T's from tropical forests. Desert T are another matter though.



Not knowing much about the invert keeping community in Australia, do you think enough people would start keeping T's to make substantial difference.....or would it just give Europe another place to dump their extras;)
Id hope for the latter if it meant less mass collection
 

Arthroverts

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So are we really in a position to start bringing in exotics in the near future, if we cant even work out what we have here or stop destroying populations of species we havn't even classified?
It's kinda like the Calvin and Hobbes comic that discusses taking care of what you have now, in this case Earth, before you try and mess with someone else's stuff, in this case Mars (or "take the log out of your own eye before you get the speck out of your brother's eye"). Not sure if that makes sense, but that's what I'm thinking right now.

Basically it's them saying: "It is absolutely illegal to bring this animal into the country because it can displace native species, disrupt the ecosystem, and also devastate the population of the animals being collected...but if you give us $500 or $1000 for a piece of paper when you do it, then there's no problem."
It could be some form of gate-keeping to make sure only serious people are able to do it. However, your point that the ecological problems remain is an excellent one.

Interesting topic. Following...

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

Dman

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My question is rather what ecological impact would occur from have an invasive T population? What would truly suffer? I would not compare it to the invasion of rabbits or cane toads in Australia. T's are not harmful to humans and are primarily ambush predators. They also live amongst many other species without much competition. Think Brazil. I am not aware of any where in the world that has one Genus of T taking out another in mass.
 

jezzy607

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I love "brown" and/or earth tone colored tarantulas, and envy the diversity of mygalomorphs Australia has. The United States is similar in that all of our native tarantulas are various shades of browns, gray, and black, and well maybe a little red in freshly molted specimens of some species. If I was restricted to only keeping natives, I wouldn't be disappointed (except that they all grow at a glacial pace!).

Anyway, if I resided in Australia I would have a similar perspective as you currently have. I honestly get annoyed by newbies that only want bright blue tarantulas, I guess I'm jaded lol.
 

Vanessa

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Over time, i have come to possess a far greater appreciation for this seemingly boring attribute, as it forces me to look at characteristics other than simply colour alone.
I think you have the right idea and I only wish more people approached this hobby with this attitude.
 

Jaromysfuneral

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Problem is that with the humidity there, an escaped t could easily become a wide spread introduction to an already unstable and small environment for local animals, the species native to AU would be very subject to endangerment or worse as they could easily be overrun, plus the shipping time to AU is another long and expensive process, we’re talking $200+ to ship an animal over 1000 miles and hope it gets there in time, which too me seems very cruel to the spider in that package as well.
 

RezonantVoid

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Problem is that with the humidity there, an escaped t could easily become a wide spread introduction to an already unstable and small environment for local animals, the species native to AU would be very subject to endangerment or worse as they could easily be overrun, plus the shipping time to AU is another long and expensive process, we’re talking $200+ to ship an animal over 1000 miles and hope it gets there in time, which too me seems very cruel to the spider in that package as well.
Humidity? Half this country is literally just desert :p

Nah you're right, but only in specific places. Where i live is for whatever reason shrouded in perpetual humidity but most places other than the tropics and rainforest areas are quite dry and arid or just regular in regards to air moisture. Another thing to note is our tarantula populations are massively spread out and very rarely overlap with human ones. Ive had tons of people contact me with spiders theyve found and only one of them had tarantulas on their property. Ive searched high and low through more national parks, forests and similar places than i can count and never seen wild ones. I cant see our natives getting outcompeted too easy. From my perspective, it would take a very precise chain of events to occur for an exotic T to successfully establish a population
 
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Ftang5

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well do you want me to amend them or not? im about to start writing the ggb papers on the weekend (if i get a response from dept of agriculture in time). also here are some reasons i believe exotic T's ( specifically C.cyaneopubescens) wouldn't take over:

the spider and its web is very easy to spot, a simple sweep with a small team would clear out an area in the unlikely event that they get a foothold.

notoriously hard to breed and the female often consumes the male before fertilization can occur.

lack the refined venom of our selenotypus or phlogius species to aid in survival, they would fall prey to dingoes and monitors, without specialized venom like the phlogius have they are at a major disadvantage to protect themselves.

they lack the instincts to collect and use snail shells as a bushfire barrier and would always burn but leave our native tarantulas still alive after a blaze.

you have to work in some reasons that persuade the minister to see that this species isn't much of a threat, any others reasons i missed (preferably with references) ?
 

RezonantVoid

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well do you want me to amend them or not? im about to start writing the ggb papers on the weekend (if i get a response from dept of agriculture in time). also here are some reasons i believe exotic T's ( specifically C.cyaneopubescens) wouldn't take over:

the spider and its web is very easy to spot, a simple sweep with a small team would clear out an area in the unlikely event that they get a foothold.

notoriously hard to breed and the female often consumes the male before fertilization can occur.

lack the refined venom of our selenotypus or phlogius species to aid in survival, they would fall prey to dingoes and monitors, without specialized venom like the phlogius have they are at a major disadvantage to protect themselves.

they lack the instincts to collect and use snail shells as a bushfire barrier and would always burn but leave our native tarantulas still alive after a blaze.

you have to work in some reasons that persuade the minister to see that this species isn't much of a threat, any others reasons i missed (preferably with references) ?
Im not really fussed about a handful of them for now. Id absolutely get a GBB. My concerns are mostly about hobbyists suddenly shifting all their focus and dedication away from natives. A small amount of exotics such as 5-10 species would probably combat this. Personally i would try and deal with mostly brownish species so ours can still compete
 

Ftang5

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i agree, but ill totally go overboard collecting the rainbow tarantulas, of course that doesn't mean i stop collecting natives.

edit: i got a response from the dept of agriculture, i asked them how long a bira might take after an amendment and what the process would for importing would be like once everything went through all good, heres part of the response:

If the Tarantula species were added to the Live Import List and a BIRA was conducted that permitted import, the BIRA would outline the conditions that must be met in order for the import to occur. Anyone who meets the conditions can organise import. Please note, the process to amend the Live Import List and a BIRA can take substantial time (years).


so it may yet be some time till we get our rainbow tarantulas. also we would only be able to import from people that have a certification that their tarantulas are captive bred (if its like exports it will be 3rd gen captive), disease and parasite free, the government has thought of your concern to stop an increase in poaching.
 
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RezonantVoid

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i agree, but ill totally go overboard collecting the rainbow tarantulas, of course that doesn't mean i stop collecting natives.

edit: i got a response from the dept of agriculture, i asked them how long a bira might take after an amendment and what the process would for importing would be like once everything went through all good, heres part of the response:

If the Tarantula species were added to the Live Import List and a BIRA was conducted that permitted import, the BIRA would outline the conditions that must be met in order for the import to occur. Anyone who meets the conditions can organise import. Please note, the process to amend the Live Import List and a BIRA can take substantial time (years).


so it may yet be some time till we get our rainbow tarantulas. also we would only be able to import from people that have a certification that their tarantulas are captive bred (if its like exports it will be 3rd gen captive), disease and parasite free, the government has thought of your concern to stop an increase in poaching.
I actually think they just cant be bothered dealing with it so they make it virtually impossible :p still a good response, makes me wonder why nobody has done this already.

Just a heads up, Phlogius make some pretty massive webs too once they get big. Another similar webber is Australothele Nambucca. A mygalomorph with only 2.5" DLS that makes thick white web sheets nearly 2 and half feet across. Ive never seen a wild GBB web so im not sure how much bigger they are but should one for some reason escape in the territory of the latter, you'd need to probably destroy heaps of A.Nambucca webs to locate the one GBB
 

Ftang5

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mabye everyone else did try it but got to the step where we are now where you have to write a taxonomical paper and got scared off :/
 
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