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Wet Moult...?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Becky, Jul 17, 2007.

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    This is kinda for own personal info... It interests me and if i can find anything out about it, i may, one day write something on it....

    A friend of mine's spider died after a moult, and some people suggested a wet moult. So i didnt know what one was. I'd neither heard of nor seen one before.

    Then today, while searching a forum i regularly go on i saw this...

    This P. irminia did not survive... :(

    So i gathered, seeing as her abdomen and back 4 legs are wet...that this is a wet moult...
    After talking to the owner of this spider, the whole spider is moulted (Although it looks as if the back end has, and the front hasn't) and the chelicerae are stuck.
    So i am asking some questions.

    What exactly is a wet moult?
    What causes it?
    Can anything be done to save the spider once it is noticeably "wet"?
    If this spider did not die of a wet moult, then what was wrong with this moult? As it is clearly not normal.
    Did she die because her chelicerae got stuck? Or was it the moult...?

    Any help or experience, or just general views/hypothesis of this is greatly appreciated.

    (Picture courtesy of regalis, arachnofreaks.com)
  2. Aurelia

    Aurelia Arachnoprince Old Timer

    This is just a guess but maybe something caused the T to bleed? Normally Ts produce a layer of moisture between the new and old exoskeletons in order for them to separate and slide off easier. Could the T have produced too much of this fluid thus dehydrating itself to death?
  3. Could be! But would the abdomen not shrivel?

    Someone on another forum suggested it could be blood, but to see if anyone has yet tested the fluid to see if it is blood or water or whichever. Would be interesting!

    Another point to counter yours Aurelia, is that the tarantula doesn't always die, they can survive.

    So another question could be. Whats done to save a spider from a wet moult? If one has been saved, could this point us in the right direction as to what a wet moult really is??
  4. luna

    luna Arachnoknight Old Timer

    I can't really help you but...

    I had an adult A. metallica that died from a molt that looked similar to that.

    Mine didn't make it to the point of standing up. Just a wet gooey (fully formed) mess. I have never heard the term before.

    She was gorgeous... about 6" before her death.

  5. It's not something thats heard of, or seen very often as far as i know.

    So your spider was fully formed... Someone suggested it could be that the skin underneath wasn't correctly formed. I, however, dismissed this theory as it would mean that the markings on the legs and abdomen would be incorrect. And as we can see in this picture of the irminia, the abdominal striping and the marking on the toes is correct.
    I personally have never seen one. But after hearing it mentioned i have decided to look into it further. Do you by any chance have any pictures? If so, by email or pm would be fantastic..

    Sorry for your loss Cheri.
  6. luna

    luna Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Hi Becky,

    Sorry, I did not take pictures.

    I left her alone for a day hoping that it might work out... poked at her a bit once I thought it really was too late... and then disposed of her. She looked like all parts were there. Just really limp and wet. This was more than a year ago so I don't remember anymore details than that. Ok.. wait... she did fall from her tube web onto the substrate. I found her wet body on the ground. She had started the molt at the top of her 10 gallon tank in a web, if that helps.

    Hope you do find out something. I had never seen anything like it before or since (until your slightly similar picture).

  7. Aurelia

    Aurelia Arachnoprince Old Timer

    yes but these two died, didn't they?

    could it have not thickened up enough though? maybe for some strange reason she molted too early, before the skin was -fully- formed, therefore making her sort of leak? I'm just brainstorming here....
  8. Hmmm.. yeah could be. But the skin not fully forming would surely leave organs on display? Ruptures, breaks in the skin...?
  9. Moltar

    Moltar ArachnoGod

    I'm no expert but i have to chime in as this is pretty interesting. Perhaps some nutritional deficiency or the like causes the skin to be porous or permeable rather than actually unformed. Chitin is basically a built up protein, yes? Maybe a diet deficient in protein could cause it? For example if a T eats lots of worms and less crix or roaches? Just a guess...
  10. I would think lack of calcium and other minerals would be more to blame then lack of protein if it is indeed some sort of dietary deficiency, but that's really just a guess.
  11. Moltar

    Moltar ArachnoGod

    Could be. What made me think that is that chitin, the material the exoskeletons are made of is basically protein deposit. Could be however that there's some other substance in their diet that allows the protein to bond together to make the chitin. This has concerned me enough that i'm getting my feeders (crix) off of cheerios and onto an assortment of veggies and cat food and stuff.
  12. Feeding your feeder insects a varied diet is key. Not only do the feeder insects look healthy, they pass on their good health to your pets. I use cat food, and recommend it to anyone who breeds their own crix. Also, if you have a dollar store near by, you can always buy cat food there. I got three cans for a buck, you can also buy canned tuna, and give it to your crix. They seem to swarm to the source of the smell and just gobble it up.

    I'm also left wondering if the wet moult could just be a genetic flaw.
  13. Good suggestion! Never even thought of that. I shall ask the guy what he feeds his spiders and double check.

    If this was the case, and he was feeding all his spiders in his collection the same, would this not mean they'd all have a wet moult?

    Possibly a genetic flaw... If so.. caused by what i wonder..?

    A friend of mine who breeds pokies lost half a sac of a Poecilotheria species to wet moults..while the other half moulted out fine! Hmmm...
  14. Amanda

    Amanda Arachnolord Old Timer

    I guess I should start treating my crickets better. I hate crickets.:rolleyes:
  15. Moltar

    Moltar ArachnoGod

    Maybe certain spiders have different nutritional needs. like speedy arboreals have faster metabolisms? I'm NOT an expert on this, just a smarty pants taking semi-educated guesses. Whether it's nutritional or not, the issue of permeability of the skin seems possible to me.

    Does anybody know if chitin is used in the makeup of the abdominal skin? Since it's elastic i'm thinking now that maybe it's not and in the pic it seems that the abdomen is most affected.
  16. There was a Avicularia versicolour which a wet moult article featured on in the BTS journal, it lived, an moulted back to a normal state- i'll see if i can dig out the journal it was in.

  17. Yeah, that was Ray's spider. He kept it alive on water and it bought itself to moult quicker and righted itself.

    Its been a gd few months and i'm still no closer to finding out!
  18. ShellsandScales

    ShellsandScales Arachnobaron

    You should not buy your cat food from the dollar store. There is not a single brand there that I would feed to anything! Use high quality! Nutro or similar. Since you are feeding insects it may be a little more expensive but it will last a very long time. And NO NO NO NO NO canned food!!!!!! should be dry pellets!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. ShellsandScales

    ShellsandScales Arachnobaron

    I have a hard time believing it to be nutrition related like etown suggested because the majority of events being reported are by educated, experienced keepers usually like robc. I'm sure he is feeding his t's properly. But I have also noticed that is is occuring mostly in aboreals. My theory is that they molted prematurely. I'm sure the patterns and colors of a T are not just on the very outermost surface of the skin. Any prematurity in development would potentially make it much less rigid and sturdy. Not necessarily see through or lacking colors and patterns. That is why they get a dark spot during premolt, its the skin developing underneath but that skin doesn't get rigid until after molt time. You know now I have a question. When are these pictures of wet molt being taken??? How long after the molt event? When any of my T's molt they are very opaque when they first molt and then harden up after the fact. Maybe we are thinking about it all wrong. Maybe instead of premature they are delayed molts because it seems in the pics of wet molts, the T's do not look opaque. They are the color of postmolt, hardened T's. Hypothesis: the exo-skeleton needs to be exposed to air to harden and if it goes through that process before its exposed to the air that could cause the problem. Like etown was saying with chitin. If air is a key ingredient to the hardening of chitin in T's exo's, then it makes me think delayed molt. They have gone through the shed process before loosing the outer skeleton exposing the "new skin" to air. Or could be that the moisture between the layers of the new and old exo are effecting the hardening of the chitin. If not and the pics I'm seeing are after the T has had time to loose the opaque look then I would have to lean towards premature, undeveloped exo. It makes since too this way because aboreals would have a more prevalent need to molt faster than terrestrials you would think. They are more exposed to the elements and wind and more likely to be disturbed by mammals or birds during a molt than their terrestrial counterparts. Just my thoughts hope this inspires someone with a little more scientific background and equipment to get to the bottom of whats really going on.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
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  20. gbbgirl

    gbbgirl Arachnoknight

    crix gut load

    I recommend gut loading your crix on both animal and plant proteins, as crix in nature would consume both opportunistically. Animal proteins are much more digestible, which makes them high in energy, and plant proteins are less easily digested, but full of different vits and minerals, that your t' could need, but I haven't gotten a research grant to find out yet, so I cover all my bases. I use a commercial veggie/water source plus fish food (animal derived proteins) to gut load my crickets, and have seen great results in reptiles and inverts.

    As far as causation of wet molt, both genetic and dietetic reasons could be correct. Certain animals have a predisposition to conditions caused by nutrient deficiencies. Also, it is possible that the keeper of the T's could be feeding different diets to each t'. I have T's with different preferences, and I've noticed people on the boards mentioning T's refusing certain types of roaches or other feeder items.

    From anecdotes on the thread, I would guess that this disorder is related to
    a molt before the new exoskeleton is fully developed, possibly because the building blocks for it's structure are not present. My one question is, if t's are able to "control" or at least respond to certain stimuli to induce a molt, why do they not put off the molt until sufficient nutrients are available? Or could this be a conflict of stimuli to molt, and physical readiness? Such as a sudden rise in humidity and temperature not accompanied by proper compounds in the system, needed to actually preform the molt.

    Interesting thread, I just wish that the tarantula industry had enough economic clout to obtain grants to study this type of thing in a controlled environment, so we wouldn't have to speculate so much.
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