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The first Poecilotheria metallica Pocock 1899 found in over 101 years ... the historical facts.

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Rick_C_West, Dec 27, 2014.

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    Contrary to some people claiming to have exclusively found the first live Poecilotheria metallica in over 101 years
    (since it's original discovery and description by Pocock in 1899, from Gooty, India), I would like to clarify that it
    was found by Drs. B. A. Daniel and Sanjay Molur (Zoo Outreach Organization), Rick C. West (Canada) and Andrew
    Smith (UK) in the 3rd week of September 2001.

    Two juvenile P. metallica specimens were found that day and a third as 'spotted' in a hollow tree, but not confirmed.
    The attached images are those of the second retreat and specimen, found within minutes after finding the first
    specimen, in a young Crocodile bark (Terminalia elliptica) tree.

    Enjoy ... this is the very first live specimen of P. metallica ever photographed. The captured specimens were taken
    to, and reared at, the Zoo Outreach Organization in Coimbatore, India.

    Excuse the quality of the images ... these are scans from old images.

    • Like Like x 22
  2. syndicate

    syndicate Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    Hello Rick,
    Hope you are doing well!Excellent photos thanks for sharing!I can only imagine how exciting this must of been!! :D
  3. telepatella

    telepatella Arachnoknight

    Thanks so much for all your work!

    So, are you saying that from 1899 through 2001 nobody found P. metallica in the wild? Please elaborate.
  4. 14pokies

    14pokies Arachnoprince Active Member

    Without the description and the last two pics its easy to see you found a blue pokie! You looked so ecstatic! Congrats and thanks for all of your hard work!
  5. That is correct. Cracking open the retreat and seeing those stunning reflective blue and orange/yellow
    patches on the legs of the first Poecilotheria metallica was one of the high moments of my tarantula
    travels ... not too much has equalled that, in my 51 years of searching for tarantulas.

    In 2015, expect to see some great theraphosid papers on some taxa within the Ischnocolinae, Selenocosmiinae
    and Theraphosinae.

    • Like Like x 7
  6. Hey Chris,

    I had a total left knee replacement a few months ago but I'm fine, now. All the hiking must have worn it out. :laugh:

    I forgot to mention that both Andrew Smith and I were so jazzed to get our pictures taken beside that Poecilotheria
    metallica retreat that we gave no thought to any snakes, let alone arboreal vipers, being amongst the leafy thicket
    of the low tree. Some months later, Thorsten Kroes send me this image of a large cryptic Bamboo viper he found
    amongst the leaves on the same hill we were running around on ... :eek:
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Steve Nunn

    Steve Nunn Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Hey Rick,
    Great to see this original pics from that historic trip. Didn't you guys also find P. miranda for the very first time too, same trip?? I could be way off, it's been a long time since we talked about that journey...

    I can recall you showing this image (on birdspiders.com) once you guys got back, someone posted a link, it blew everyone away!! Moments like that are just golden, got to be one of the nicest tarantulas I've ever seen....

    • Like Like x 3
  8. Actually, we did find another juvenile Poecilotheria on the same hill has the P. metallica, however, because it was a
    juvenile and we could no take it our of India to rear, it was never determined what that species was. Being dark
    and non-colored in the ventral leg pattern, it was assumed to be a juvenile P. formosa Pocock 1899 ... but we'll never
    know as I believe the specimen never identified after we left India.

    As for the first historic find and live images of Poecilotheria miranda Pocock 1900 in over 100 years, that claim can go to
    Thorsten Kroes and possibly others who may have been with him. P. Miranda and P. metallica, to my knowledge (anyone
    can correct me), are not sympatric. P. Miranda is found in West Bengal (NE India), while P. metallica (now, common
    knowledge) are found in the Eastern Ghats of India.
  9. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Hey Rick!

    Great info, and much appreciated. I know from our talks you don't frequent the board too much, so this is a real treat!
  10. samatwwe

    samatwwe Arachnobaron

    This is awesome! I love seeing the tarantulas we all love and appreciate out in their natural habitats. Thank you for sharing Rick.
  11. Steve Nunn

    Steve Nunn Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I see, thanks for clearing that up.......would have been VERY interesting to confirm if it was a P. formosa or not.... particularly in light of some of the poor Poecilotheria descriptions of late...
  12. telepatella

    telepatella Arachnoknight

    Rick, do you have any plans to write a book or another video..?
  13. I still have a couple of years to go before I retire. If a person is going to properly write a book (although a bit
    antiquated in this day and age of social media), it takes a lot of time and focus, and, has to be properly
    reviewed. Ideally, it should be through a well-known publisher, like Smithsonian or Cornell Press. In truth, it's
    a LOT of work and the end financial benefits for compensated time spent on the labour of love is very low. So,
    we will see. Thanks for asking, though.
  14. telepatella

    telepatella Arachnoknight

    Yes yes, I understand. Maybe your memoirs though, with photos...que no? I think I speak for more than a few of us, we would love to hear your story.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  15. Philth

    Philth N.Y.H.C. Arachnosupporter

    Great stuff Rick. I'm not sure who is making the claim they were the first to find them, but the first image I ever saw of one was the juvie you posted above on your site. Then Andrew Smith had brought some more images to his lecture at the ATS conference a year or two later. I'll never forgot the " awww " that came out of the crowd in that lecture hall when Andrew popped up the first metallica image lol.

    This may not be the place to ask, so feel free to ignore it if you wish, but you use to have a image of a black metallica, and a "brown phase" ( that looked like a old female that needed to molt) on you site. They were removed a couple of years ago. Can you comment at all on those photos?

    Thanks for the post, good stuff!
  16. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I don't recall either, but I've heard the same misinformation as well. Regarding the "black" metallica. As I know nothing about them, is it known if the color change is due to age, diet, or a completely different subspecies/species?
  17. Correct, those images belonged to Thorsten Kroes and Thomas Märklin. With their new Poecilotheria book publication
    pending, 'Ornamentvogelspinnen. Die Gattung Poecilotheria. Henrik Krehenwinkel, Thomas Märklin & Thorsten Kroes',
    I felt it appropriate to remove their images to prevent copyright theft. If you want to learn more about the various
    polymorphic color states of P. metallica, I recommend you contact Thomas at; www.poecilotheria.com I hope that
    helps answer your question.
    • Like Like x 3
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