Status of Imported Australian Tarantulas in the USA

AphonopelmaTX

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Hi All,

It's been about a full year since captive bred Australian species of tarantula were first imported and offered for sale in the USA from Steve Nunn in Australia. Given that it's been about a year, I thought I would ask that everyone who has bought the first imports in the USA give a status of their Aussie tarantulas. Info like, how big are they now; what are their demeanor; what has been your experience with them in captivity so far; etc.? To start things off and to give an example of what I'm looking for, here is the status of the three I bought from Michael Jacobi back on July 20, 2006.

I bought one of each of the three species first imported- Selenocosmia crassipes, Selenocosmia sp. 2, and Selenocosmia sp. "Eunice" All three arrived safely and were about .5 inches in leg span and extremely speedy but all in all easy to house. The S. crassipes unfortunately died a few months after arriving in the mail for unknown reasons. The other two are still going strong and are proving to be quite hardy. They have both been exposed to dry conditions as well as gone at most two weeks without eating. Neither occurance is common.

In the past year, the S. sp. "2" and S. sp. "Eunice" have molted a few times, can't remember exactly, but not as often as a typical fast grower such as the typical old world species goes, but faster than a Brachypelma or Aphonopelma species. As of tonight, both individuals are roughly 1.5 inches in legspan and have very little bulk to their bodies. In other words they still look like spiderlings and have not developed any adult coloration yet. They also seem to have a slower metabolism than other "old worlders" as their opisthosomas stay large and plump for weeks after a good feeding. This reminds me of a spiderling of a Brachypelma sp. Each still live in a medium sized vial (2 inches diameter; 3 inches in height) with moist peat moss and have built extensive multi-chambered burrows. After a molt, they both expand the size of each burrow chamber to accomodate their new size. I have not needed to rehouse them as of yet, so I have not yet experienced their demeanor, but I am assuming since they are still small, they will be running quite fast as opposed to taking on a defensive posture. I may change out the soil in their viles anyway just to find out for sure. However I can say that they are very skittish and run to the bottom of their burrows (or any chamber underneath the soil surface) at the slightest disturbance of their vials.

Please respond with your experience with the first imports of Aussie tarantulas to the USA if you were a part of those who got a hold of them. I am especially interested to know if any other specimens are still small or if mine are growing exceptionally slow for some reason.

- Lonnie
 

Brian S

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I am currently keeping S sp "Eunice". It is still about 2.5 inches in legspan. It has molted a few times since I got but like stated above it doesnt grow super fast like many of the OW species I keep. Husbandry is identical to the way I keep Hystocrates, Haplopelma etc. I am not sure on its demeanor as I dont mess with any of mine often however I can say that it is a very aggressive feeder! It will take on roaches larger than it is LOL. I would say its safe to assume it is my most voracious feeder of any I have. I have been unable to sex it as the molt has gotten torn up since it molts in a deep burrow. Recently I rehoused it to a 1 gallon jar with approx 2/3 to 3/4 filled with slightly moist peat which now has a maze of tunnels. Surprisingly for a burrower it seems to be out in the open more than my other hole diggers. I have Haplos that I am lucky to see once a year!
I have been planning to get more Aussie sp but just havent gotten around to it yet. I assume some are still available?
 

AphonopelmaTX

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Thanks for the info Brian S. I see that yours has grown faster than mine. Perhaps it is the diet. Is there anyone else that bought the first imports of the Australian species?

- Lonnie
 

Brian S

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Lonnie, I also feed mine all the time so I am sure that has a huge impact. That and of course I could have a male
 
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