Yet another Theraphosa "sp" thread

Jmugleston

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Messages
1,578
I tried to stay out of this one but.....
It seems that this comes up about once a month or so doesn't it? Bit of a broken record thing going on.

It seems funny that people are so concerned about this. Officially as of now, there are only two species in the Theraphosa genus. T. blondi and T. apophysis . . .and even the distinction between these two can be very difficult to make! A few variations among individuals of the same species hardly merits classifying them as separate species and/or re-labeling them!
It isn't quite so simple. The differences between them are quite noticeable and it is more than a simple color variant. I was very skeptical about the "new species" claims (I even have threads where I question the validity and bring up the possibly marketing scheme that may be involved). I was wrong. There are three spiders sold under the name of Theraphosa. It took a bit of time, the careful eye of my wife pointing out that I have more than 2 species, some conversations with taxonomists, Tom's photos, and finally access to Tinter's information before I finally was convinced.

Now to keep from being too redundant, I have once again attached a photo with all three species side by side. I have also included a link to a post I left on another thread. All of this echos what Tom has said above.

To save time typing:
There are a bunch of threads covering this already, so I'll be brief and mention some characters as well as some notable color differences:
T. apophysis:
Much more "hair" covering the legs especially the underside
Generally a pinkish/reddish hue.
Mature males with tibial apophyses
Dark spot on the opisthosoma
tibia uniform width
tibia of variable lengths
carapace more elongate
slings with pink tarsi

T. blondi
Less "hair" than T. apophysis
Lacks the Reddish hairs seen on the other two Theraphosa sp.
Distal portion of the tibial wider
males lack tibial apophyses
round carapace
slings with brown tarsi
setae on patella

T. sp. "blondi" (The more common goliath in the pet trade also sold as T. blondi, T. apophysis, and T. sp. "burgundy")
Thickened femurs like T. blondi
black spot like T. apophysis
ultimate males lack tibial spurs
reddish hairs on fresh molts
carapace is round
slings with pink tarsi
no setae on patella

Here's a picture showing all three:


The leftmost spider is T. sp. "blondi", the middle T. blondi (the real T. blondi), and the right is T. aphphysis. All three are adult or subadults.
Sadly, most the T. apophysis I've seen for sale lately have been the Guyana T. sp. "blondi" so unless you're very confident in your source, you may have a species other than T. apophysis.

The localities are different as well.

This subject has been covered quite a bit over the last year. Until the revision paper is published, there are two recognized species in the genus Theraphosa. Just because only two are recognized doesn't automatically discount the existence of a third species that is closely related to the known two. In this case it seems the third species has been identified, but it was erroneously put in a different genus. Hopefully this long talked about revision paper will correct the name and settle this issue.
 
Last edited:

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
Sorry, but again there isn't a shred of scientific evidence here that proves there are more than two species. Just a couple of suspect pictures and a bunch of "he said she said."

In fact, I think that it would be difficult to even prove scientifically that the apophysis and blondi are actually different species. And yes, a difference in spermethecae can definitely be attributed to variation! Just like a difference in hair color in humans is attributed to variation. . we don't just call redheads a "new species" lol
 

Falk

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
679
Sorry, but again there isn't a shred of scientific evidence here that proves there are more than two species. Just a couple of suspect pictures and a bunch of "he said she said."

In fact, I think that it would be difficult to even prove scientifically that the apophysis and blondi are actually different species. And yes, a difference in spermethecae can definitely be attributed to variation! Just like a difference in hair color in humans is attributed to variation. . we don't just call redheads a "new species" lol
Are you comparing spermatechae with hair color?
 

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
I am comparing the expression of genes in one organism to the expression of genes in another.
 

Mack&Cass

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
1,574
Sorry, but again there isn't a shred of scientific evidence here that proves there are more than two species. Just a couple of suspect pictures and a bunch of "he said she said."

In fact, I think that it would be difficult to even prove scientifically that the apophysis and blondi are actually different species. And yes, a difference in spermethecae can definitely be attributed to variation! Just like a difference in hair color in humans is attributed to variation. . we don't just call redheads a "new species" lol
For one, yes there is scientific evidence, hence the paper everyone is waiting to be published.

Second, redheads have the same sex organs as blondes and brunettes. If spermathecae difference was simply an 'expression of genes' then there would just be one species of tarantula. They're different for a reason - just like males' palpal emboli are all different.

Cass
 
Last edited:

mcluskyisms

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
843
Why are so many people in denial over the fact that there is soon to be a third classified Theraphosa........???

The differences are fairly obvious no?

I don't get it?

:?
 

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
For one, yes there is scientific evidence, hence the paper everyone is waiting to be published.
It amazes me how emotionally convinced all of you are on this topic, especially only based on the words of a few "authorities" on the subject and in many cases only words and pictures you have seen on the internet. In fact, "authorities" have no place in science. Here is why your one single paper really can't actually scientifically change the taxonomy standing of these big brown spiders:

A properly written scientific result connects an outcome with a theory it is meant to test, and some experimental results meant to either break new ground or confirm prior results as in a replication. (In our case we would be trying to prove or disprove the hypothesis that these spiders are indeed separate species) This divorces the outcome from the individuals responsible for it — scientists evaluate an idea on the basis of its connection with theory and its connection with evidence (both of which are open to challenge and further work), but not its connection with a particular source. If scientific research is conducted properly, its source becomes irrelevant to an evaluation of its meaning.

The demotion of authority in science has many roots:

* The fact that results are not taken seriously until they have been replicated in independent experiments by people one may assume will not collude in covering up sloppy or fraudulent results.

* The vital connection between theory and results. Shaping theories generalizes specific results and allows experiments using different methods to test the same claim, liberates the outcome from the biases of any individual, and ultimately creates a basis for distinct scientific fields (biology and chemistry are different fields not because of different names but because of different theories).

* Statistical and mathematical analyses that are verifiable in their own right and that estimate the probability that a result arose by chance.

* The innate skepticism and high standards of the scientists who read the result, e.g. the default assumption that an idea is false until and unless there is evidence to support it.

Because of these safeguards, and if the science is conducted properly, no single person can promote a result that merits the name "scientific". The best science depends on many experiments, conducted in different ways by different people, that confirm or falsify a theoretical claim. The worst science depends on a single result, emanating from a single researcher, that cannot be replicated and/or that doesn't assert or test a theoretical claim.


Second, redheads have the same sex organs as blondes and brunettes.
Cass

. . and women have different sex organs than men, but they are still one species. :wall:

Why can't people here just accept that there truly hasn't been enough scientific experimentation (genetic testing, widespread documented knowledge) regarding these spiders to truly know whether they are different species or not? For some tarantulas, it is obvious whether they are different species. That isn't true with this situation.

For one, yes there is scientific evidence, hence the paper everyone is waiting to be published.

If spermathecae difference was simply an 'expression of genes' then there would just be one species of tarantula. Cass
:? huh? Every physical attribute you and every other living organism have is an expression of genes. Genes govern everything you (and tarantulas) physically are.

And to further compound your error. . .there are many tarantulas of scientifically proven separate species which have the same sex organs. These differences in spermethecae CAN BE PART of the evidence needed to prove that they are separate species, but by itself (or coupled with only physical differences) they do not comprise sound acceptable evidence.
 

Fran

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
1,533
So yes, it really doesnt help matters when Dealers keep labeling them as T.Blondi althought is clear they are not.
 

mcluskyisms

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
843
So yes, it really doesnt help matters when Dealers keep labeling them as T.Blondi althought is clear they are not.
Dealers are only in it for the money mainly, hence labeling them "true blondi's" when as you rightly say, its obvious that they aren't. This hopefully I reckon will get sorted out upon the release of the official paper and when it has the classified valid name Theraphosa spinipes.
 

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
You should grab some species description papers and see what characters are used by taxonomists to separate taxa. You are using phrases like "prove scientifically" and "expression of genes", but it doesn't appear as though you have much backing in the scientific process, taxonomy, systematics, etc.

If you're looking for an argument, I'm sure you can find one. But first you may want to look at the species descriptions for Theraphosa blondi, T. apophysis, and Lasiodora spinipes.
Are you suggesting then that the definition of species changes when it comes to tarantulas?

I will be the first to say (and I'm sure if any EXPERTS were present on these boards that they would agree) that the taxonomy of spiders/tarantulas is not a cut and dry affair like mathematics or physics. There are a lot of blurred areas and unknowns - partly because of the physical limitations of studying these tarantulas in nature but also because of the sheer lack of people doing so.

The taxonomy of some animals is just obvious like I said. . so there isn't much need for excessive experimentation to find the true answer in terms of classifying species. That isn't the case here. And I have provided more scientific "backing" for my viewpoint than you have for yours. .surely all you will do is attempt to poke holes in my statements.
 

billopelma

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
604
Are you suggesting then that the definition of species changes when it comes to tarantulas?
Yes, it does change indeed, obviously Tarantulas are not defined the same as other types of life. How could you use the same points to define worms or rodents when the physical characteristics from one order don't exist in the other. Duh.
These definitions are also virtual and change constantly as new revisions come out. New revisions by taxonomists, that is. You know, the people who define species and such...:rolleyes:

I will be the first to say (and I'm sure if any EXPERTS were present on these boards that they would agree) that the taxonomy of spiders/tarantulas is not a cut and dry affair like mathematics or physics.
Oh, you're the first huh... And again you answer your own questions. Like many here are trying unsuccessfully to get through to you, it's not cut and dried, it can and will change and is as we speak. There will be three species of Theraphosa, as defined by experts/taxonomists, just as it always is...

And I have provided more scientific "backing" for my viewpoint....
And where would this backing be? I must have missed it...



Density and ignorance, combined and magnified... :wall:


Bill
 

AphonopelmaTX

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
1,412
I Hopefully this long talked about revision paper will correct the name and settle this issue.
Don't worry, it won't. {D

If anyone has actually read descriptions of a tarantula species found in a peer reviewed journal, then one should know that stable characters are not easily seen by looking at a live specimen. One will need dead material, a good quality shed excuvia from an adult, or a sedated individual, and a microscope. Dealers and hobbyists will continue to use the same superficial highly variable and highly subjective characters to say if they have a T. blondi or T. sp "whatever it will be called." The T. apophysis paper has been out for years and most can't tell the difference between an adult female T. blondi (as currently recognized as such) and adult female T. apophysis. A third is just going to add another possibility to the "what do I have" threads on the internet. This reminds me so much of the Haplopelma minax, H. longipes, and H. sp "vietnam" thing. Even though H. longipes is very easy to identify and the paper has been written (although in German), dealers can't seem to identify it for whatever reason. With the paper, some familiarity with the systematic terminology, material, and a microscope, one is only going to be able to determine what they have in their possession after they bought it.

- Lonnie
 

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
Yes, it does change indeed, obviously Tarantulas are not defined the same as other types of life. How could you use the same points to define worms or rodents when the physical characteristics from one order don't exist in the other. Duh.
These definitions are also virtual and change constantly as new revisions come out. New revisions by taxonomists, that is. You know, the people who define species and such...:rolleyes:
Very interesting Bill. So in this world you speak of where the definition of a species changes from organism to organism, I suppose we are all free to decide what makes certain organisms separate species then? That would make everyone a taxonomist then now wouldn't it! Even you. I am curious, in this world you speak of, does the theory of gravity also break down when it doesn't align with your personal hunches? :)

The fact is, there is an OBJECTIVE and SCIENTIFIC definition for species, and guess what, it pertains to tarantulas also. It does not magically change just to make classifying tarantulas easier for hobbyists or people who post on message boards. I never "defined tarantulas the same as other forms of life" as you said. Of course they are different, you are constructing a fallacy. What I did say was that tarantulas need to be held to the same scientific standards in terms of classifying them.



Oh, you're the first huh... And again you answer your own questions. Like many here are trying unsuccessfully to get through to you, it's not cut and dried, it can and will change and is as we speak. There will be three species of Theraphosa, as defined by experts/taxonomists, just as it always is...
Well I am certainly the first in these threads to say it. If you and many have been "trying unsuccessfully to get through to me" that the taxonomy of tarantulas isn't cut and dry, then show me exactly where this was said. In fact the opposite of what you said is happening here. . everyone here is SURE that there are three species, despite sound evidence. They definitely seem to think its cut and dry to me!


And where would this backing be? I must have missed it...
If you have read my posts thoroughly you would see that I have provided many sound logical and scientific reasons for why these tarantulas should be considered one species. Just to summarize:

*They look very similar

*They come from the same geographical region, and it CANNOT be proved that they do not interbreed in nature. (Sooo many of you fail to understand this point)

*Not a single bit of genetic testing has been done to provide any evidence of your claim that they are separate.

Density and ignorance, combined and magnified... :wall:


Bill
Funny, I was thinking the same thing after reading your reply!
 

Zoltan

Cult Leader
Old Timer
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
1,467
Very interesting Bill. So in this world you speak of where the definition of a species changes from organism to organism, I suppose we are all free to decide what makes certain organisms separate species then?

The fact is, there is an OBJECTIVE and SCIENTIFIC definition for species, and guess what, it pertains to tarantulas also.
Fact: there isn't just one, universal definition of "species" that is accepted by everyone. Google "species concepts":

http://www.mun.ca/biology/scarr/Fut_Tab_15_01_species_concepts.gif

That would make everyone a taxonomist then now wouldn't it!

J. E. Winston said:
We are all taxonomists.
;)
 

Jmugleston

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Messages
1,578
Are you suggesting then that the definition of species changes when it comes to tarantulas?

I will be the first to say (and I'm sure if any EXPERTS were present on these boards that they would agree) that the taxonomy of spiders/tarantulas is not a cut and dry affair like mathematics or physics. There are a lot of blurred areas and unknowns - partly because of the physical limitations of studying these tarantulas in nature but also because of the sheer lack of people doing so.

The taxonomy of some animals is just obvious like I said. . so there isn't much need for excessive experimentation to find the true answer in terms of classifying species. That isn't the case here. And I have provided more scientific "backing" for my viewpoint than you have for yours. .surely all you will do is attempt to poke holes in my statements.

I won't need to try to hard to find holes in your reasoning. Your argument is silly at best. You are correct in that taxonomy is not cut and dry. There are numerous arguments for species concepts. Some of the more popular ones are Biological Species Concept, Evolutionary Species Concept, Phylogenetic Species Concept, and the list goes on for a long while. It seems to differ on your taxa of interest, whether or not fossils are involved, if you can reasonably sample the populations, etc. But I'm sure you already know that since you have shown your academic prowess with such statements as "proven scientifically".

Now as for physics and math. If you think that is cut and dry, you have no appreciation for the current research in those fields. Honestly....physics is cut and dry?

The beauty of taxonomy, and science in general, is that once a hypothesis is formed it can be tested. If someone makes a claim that there are three different spiders pictured above, another can come through and refute that argument. There is a procedure to do that. We're not taxonomists. We're hobbyists saying there looks to be three spiders. It appears as though these three spiders have three separate names in the literature as well.

We have provided morphological differences ranging from relative lengths of the femurs, presence of tibial apophyses, shape of the carapace, etc. All of which have been used to differentiate other spiders. I don't study spiders. I collect them. I am not an arachnid taxonomist either. I do work in the field of molecular systematics. I may know a bit about characters, traits, variation and how these are used in taxonomy.

In all honestly it sounds like you are arguing against species concepts and you don't feel that the current method of determining species is adequate. That is a fair argument but probably deserves its own thread....or numerous books as have been published. Or is it that we're not taxonomists so we shouldn't be concerned with the extreme morphological differences in the three spiders pictured above...even though less has been used to differentiate other tarantulas? Or is it that Theraphosa blondi and T. apophysis are not different species because you have evidence that the variation between those species is continuous and what we are calling characters are actually traits? What are you claiming exactly?
 

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
I am very aware of the species concept Zoltan, thank you for the reply. If anything though, the species concept illustrates why there shouldn't be so much hurry to classify these tarantulas as separate species.

In other words, I can't imagine how the species concept would help support the claim that these are different species.
 

PhobeToPhile

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
210
Here we go yet again...

My two cents: separate species or not, none of the Theraphosa spp. should be interbed in order to keep them distinct and keep variety within the hobby. Something I think we all can agree on.
 

Jmugleston

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Messages
1,578
*They look very similar

*They come from the same geographical region, and it CANNOT be proved that they do not interbreed in nature. (Sooo many of you fail to understand this point)

*Not a single bit of genetic testing has been done to provide any evidence of your claim that they are separate.
They look similar: (Morphological species concept?)-So do all the great apes, but we see unique characters in each species.

Same Region (Biological Species Concept): South America? Chimps are from Africa. Humans originated in Africa? No geographical isolation. According to your methods, same continent = same species? Though Guyana, Surinam, and Venezuela are large areas when you're an 8" spider.

Genetic similarity (Phylogenetic species concept?): Over 95% similarity in chimp and human genomes..........What arbitrary limit would you set on genetic diversity to differentiate spiders?

So according to your use of three different species concepts (though you apparently don't agree with multiple species concepts) humans and chimps may be the same species.

There is method for determining species. This can be tested and refuted. You are mixing multiple species concepts. Of course we cannot prove the populations are isolated. On your reasoning, we cannot "prove" many populations are separated. That is not a feasible option on many species. So either we throw our hands up and give up, or look at other evidence and draw ideas. It might not be tested in the description paper but further phylogenetic analyses will test the hypothesis and either support it or refute it. Using your methods, is it safe to pair any species of Mexican brachy since we cannot be 100% sure they aren't breeding in nature? How about Pamphos? Haplos? Where do you draw the line?

I am very aware of the species concept Zoltan, thank you for the reply. If anything though, the species concept illustrates why there shouldn't be so much hurry to classify these tarantulas as separate species.

In other words, I can't imagine how the species concept would help support the claim that these are different species.
Apparently you are not that aware of "the species concept" since as the link would show, there are many species concepts. I thought maybe it was a typo, but three times you referred to it as "the species concept" implying you really don't know much about how this works.

We want to keep them separate because if evidence comes forward through the proper channels, i.e. not hobbyists, then we have all three bloodlines. If by chance they are able to interbreed (though evidence from accidental pairings seen by keepers on this forum speaks otherwise) we don't want to mix what may be three separate spiders.

I think the only positive thing that will come from continuing this futile argument is my post count will increase....that's cool I guess.
 

The Mack

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
140
So at the beginning of your reply:
I won't need to try to hard to find holes in your reasoning. Your argument is silly at best.
And at the very end of your reply:
What are you claiming exactly?
:clap:

LOL I'm sorry, but this was just comical. It really does show how you have more emotion invested in this than logic and reason. As for the rest of your post, I did enjoy reading it and I appreciate having this discussion with you.


You are correct in that taxonomy is not cut and dry. There are numerous arguments for species concepts. Some of the more popular ones are Biological Species Concept, Evolutionary Species Concept, Phylogenetic Species Concept, and the list goes on for a long while. It seems to differ on your taxa of interest, whether or not fossils are involved, if you can reasonably sample the populations, etc. But I'm sure you already know that since you have shown your academic prowess with such statements as "proven scientifically".
I really don't see how you have argued against me here. . .You are basically admitting that there is a gray area when it comes to these tarantulas. And my statement "proven scientifically" can be interpreted in the same sense that gravity or relativity can be "proven scientifically." Experiments can be reproduced countless times to the same results which confirm the theories of gravity or relativity. I consider that "scientific proof."


Now as for physics and math. If you think that is cut and dry, you have no appreciation for the current research in those fields. Honestly....physics is cut and dry?
Physics possesses a well-tested theoretical core that can predict physical events to a staggering degree of precision, typically ten or more decimal places. And, because so much of modern technology hinges on an understanding of physics, physical theories are constantly being retested and modified when they are discovered not to reflect reality. So when a bridge is built on the basis of (physics) laboratory tests, the steel in the bridge is very likely to behave in the same way — all according to a very clear physical theory, a theory confirmed by experiments that could have falsified the theory but didn't. In a nutshell, physics is more than cut and dry when you compare it with taxonomy.



In all honestly it sounds like you are arguing against species concepts and you don't feel that the current method of determining species is adequate. That is a fair argument but probably deserves its own thread....or numerous books as have been published. Or is it that we're not taxonomists so we shouldn't be concerned with the extreme morphological differences in the three spiders pictured above...even though less has been used to differentiate other tarantulas? Or is it that Theraphosa blondi and T. apophysis are not different species because you have evidence that the variation between those species is continuous and what we are calling characters are actually traits? What are you claiming exactly?
To a certain extent I do believe that the current methods of determining species of tarantulas is inadequate, but I don't think it really presents much of a problem except for situations like this. I am not claiming anything, it is everyone's claim that these spiders are different species that I am doubting. And I'm not doubting just to get a rise from people, but because the evidence and current available knowledge just points me in that direction.
 

Fran

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
1,533
To a certain extent I do believe that the current methods of determining species of tarantulas is inadequate, but I don't think it really presents much of a problem except for situations like this. I am not claiming anything, it is everyone's claim that these spiders are different species that I am doubting. And I'm not doubting just to get a rise from people, but because the evidence and current available knowledge just points me in that direction.
Im the first one whos not affraid to dismiss "certain" authoritys if what they are saying does not make sense...But here you are just being a giant hard headed stubborn.

How are you gonna try to tell us that you have the edge, that you have something that people whos lifes are pretty much dedicated to the study of these animals dont have...
So People who are the maximun authority regarding the propper order of these genus and specie seem that they didnt think of all those things you are trying to shove us?

When are you gonna understand that they KNOW the specie, they KNOW its a different one,they KNOW it was placed in the wrong genus and they are working on the revision?


Again, one thing is having a mind of your own, another is to be stubborn, and sorry to say what you are trying to shove up to our throaghts here is simply not correct.

I love physiscs, I studied physiscs, I have a ton of physics books, yet if Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking are telling me that those equations which im working on are not correct...It might surprise me, I might be mad about it, I might not understand why...But God darn it I have to BELIEVE IT since is obvious I have nothing they dont have regarding the matter.
 
Last edited:
Top