Brazilian salmon pink tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana)

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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula, anterior view
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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula fact file

Brazilian salmon pink tarantula description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderAraneae
FamilyTheraphosidae
GenusLasiodora (1)

One of the largest arachnid species, the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana) is one of the most popular species of tarantula to be kept as a pet as it breeds readily in captivity (3).

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula has a large, bulky body, which is divided into two segments. The cephalothorax includes the head and mouthparts and bears two stout chelicerae, with backwards-pointing claws underneath that are connected to venom glands, as well as the eight uniformly thick, stout legs.  The second segment, the abdomen, has several long, silk-spinning organs called spinnerets, as well as a pair of respiratory organs known as ‘book lungs’, which are found inside a small cavity on the underside (2) (3)

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula is covered in greyish-black or brown hairs, with long, pinkish hairs on the legs, chelicerae and some parts of the body. The hairs on the abdomen of the male may appear slightly more reddish than those of the female (2).

Also known as
Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula.
Size
Body Length: 9 - 10 cm (2)
Leg Span: 20 - 25 cm (2)
Female Weight: c. 100 g (2)
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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula biology

An extremely proficient predator, the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula feeds mainly on insects, amphibians and small reptiles, as well as the occasional small bird (2) (4) (5). In the wild, the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula has been known to prey on the common lancehead (Bothrops atrox), a notoriously aggressive and venomous species of viper (6). Tarantulas are hunting spiders and as such, do not spin webs to catch their prey (5). The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula will lie in wait on the forest floor until a suitable prey item passes by, before striking rapidly and injecting the prey with venom to subdue it (4) (5). The spider will then hold the prey firmly in its jaws and cover it with fluids which help to partially digest the prey, before sucking the digested tissues up into the mouth (5).

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula is capable of giving a painful bite when provoked. When threatened, the tarantula will raise the front of the body and hold its legs high in the air, before striking down in a powerful motion and attacking with its fangs (5). The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula is also able to release urticating hairs from its abdomen, which it flicks off using its hind legs (2) (5). These hairs are covered in microscopic barbs, which cause irritation to the skin and eyes of the potential predator on contact (2).

During breeding, the male Brazilian salmon pink tarantula spider deposits sperm onto a small patch of silk which it then transfers, using the pedipalps, to the female’s genital opening on the underside of the abdomen. The female will lay as many as 2,000 eggs, which are cocooned into a thick web of silk to form an egg sac (2) (4). The female Brazilian salmon pink tarantula guards the egg sac for several weeks until the spiderlings hatch (4).  

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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula range

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula is endemic to the Atlantic forest region of Brazil, where it is known from only one locality near Campina Grande in Paraiba (3).

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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula habitat

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula inhabits the forest floor, where it may be found out in the open, in burrows, or in natural hiding places under leaf litter, logs and in crevices (3) (4).

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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula status

The Brazilian salmon pink tarantula has not yet been been assessed by the IUCN.

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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula threats

There are no known specific threats to the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula. However, it inhabits the Atlantic forest which is under severe threat from deforestation as a result of illegal logging, land conversion to pasture, agriculture, and forest plantations, and the expansion of urban areas (7). The Atlantic forest is also highly fragmented, with only around 8 percent of the original forest cover remaining (7) (8).

As a result of this, the biodiversity of the Atlantic forest is under increasing threat, and it is highly likely that the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula will also be somewhat affected. Currently, very little appears to be known about the population size and conservation status of the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula in the wild.

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Brazilian salmon pink tarantula conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place that specifically target the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula.

Despite the threats the Atlantic forest, conservation organisations remain optimistic about its future, and high profile groups such as Conservation International (8), The Nature Conservancy (7) and WWF (9), along with many smaller organisations and individual projects, are all working to protect the Atlantic forest and the unique array of species that live there.

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Find out more

To find out more about the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula, see:

To find out more about conservation of the Atlantic forest, see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Abdomen
In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree (but not visibly in most spiders). In crustacea (e.g. crabs) some of the limbs attach to the abdomen; in insects the limbs are attached to the thorax (the part of the body nearest to the head) and not the abdomen. In vertebrates the abdomen is the part of the body that contains the internal organs (except the heart and lungs).
Atlantic Forest
A highly biodiverse region found along the east coast of South America, comprising several different vegetation types, including high-altitude grassland, and lowland and montane forest. The coastal Atlantic forest is a narrow strip of about 50 to 100 kilometres along the coast, which covers about 20 percent of the Atlantic Forest region.
Cephalothorax
The front body section of arachnids and many crustaceans, consisting of the fused head and thorax.
Chelicerae
Pair of appendages on the ‘head’ of an arachnid (spiders, scorpions, mites, harvestmen etc). In spiders and harvestmen these appendages are jointed and are used to kill prey, and in defence. In spiders there is a poison gland at the base of each chelicera, from where a duct leads to the tip of the fang.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Gland
An organ that makes and secretes substances used by the body.
Pedipalps
In arachnids (a group which includes spiders and scorpions), a pair of appendages which are modified for many uses, such as killing and manipulating prey, mating, defence and sensory perception.
Spinnerets
Tube-like, movable silk handling structures found at the tip of the abdomen (the hind region of the body) in spiders. There are four pairs of these organs, but in most species there are fewer (usually three). The silk is produced by the silk organs as a liquid, which passes through the spinnerets and is put under tension until the silk becomes a solid thread.
Urticating hairs
A dense covering of barbed hairs, in addition to normal covering hairs, that are found on the top of the abdomen of most New World tarantulas. These hairs are believed to be used as a defence against mammalian and avian predators.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA): Brazilian salmon pink (Lasiodora parahybana) (January, 2011)
    http://www.waza.org/en/zoo/visit-the-zoo/invertebrates-house/spiders-and-scorpions-1254385524/lasiodora-parahybana
  3. Eight - Brazilian salmon pink birdeater (Lasiodora parahybana)  (January, 2011)
    http://www.eightlegs.org/salmon/salmon.html
  4. Saint Louis Zoo - Brazilian salmon pink birdeater (January, 2011)
    http://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/invertebrates/spidersandscorpions/braziliansalmonpinkbirdeat.htm
  5. O'Toole, C. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Insects and their Allies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Gomase, V.S. and Shyamkumar, K. (2009) Prediction of antigenic peptides of Lasiotoxin-2 (LpTX2) from Lasiodora parahybana. International Journal of Parasitology Research, 1(1): 1-4.
  7. The Nature Conservancy (January, 2011)
    http://www.nature.org/
  8. Conservation International - Biodiversity Hotspots (January, 2011)
    http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/
  9. WWF (January, 2011)
    http://wwf.panda.org/
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Image credit

Brazilian salmon pink tarantula, anterior view  
Brazilian salmon pink tarantula, anterior view

© Nigel Downer / www.photoshot.com

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