Mexican redrump tarantula (Brachypelma vagans)

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Mexican redrump tarantula suspending itself between two leaves using its legs
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Mexican redrump tarantula fact file

Mexican redrump tarantula description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderAraneae
FamilyTheraphosidae
GenusBrachypelma (1)

This species’ attractive appearance and usually docile nature make it one of the most popular pets for tarantula enthusiasts. The Mexican redrump tarantula is mainly black and can be distinguished from members of the same genus by the copper-coloured hair on the upper side of its body. With an impressive leg span of 13.5 centimetres, females tend to be larger than males and can be differentiated by the copper coloured hair on the hind legs (2).

Size
Female body length: 5 - 7.5 cm (2)
Female leg span: up to 13.5 cm (2)
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Mexican redrump tarantula biology

The Mexican redrump tarantula is a fossorial species, living underground and digging complex burrows, which can have several chambers and be up to 45 centimetres deep (4) (5). The diameter of the burrow entrance usually reflects the body size of the inhabitant, so juvenile burrows are smaller than the burrow of fully grown adults (4).

This species produces large silken egg sacs, which may contain up to 300 eggs (4). The spiderlings initially stay with the female and eventually disperse after several weeks to build their own burrows (2). Mexican redrump tarantula males are mature at the age of seven to eight years, while females reach maturity after nine or ten years (4). This spider can reach an impressive age of 25 years in the wild (2).

The Mexican redrump tarantula is nocturnal, meaning it hunts during the night and rests during the day. Like all tarantulas, it is an active hunter, primarily feeding on insects and occasionally killing larger prey such as rodents (2).

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Mexican redrump tarantula range

This tarantula is native to Central America and has been found in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica (3). More recently it has also been reported in central Florida (2).

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Mexican redrump tarantula habitat

The Mexican redrump tarantula, in contrast to many other tarantulas, tends to avoid forests and primarily lives in open areas, such as forest clearings and back gardens (4) (5). It has also been found in citrus groves (2).

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Mexican redrump tarantula status

Listed on Appendix II of CITES (1).

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Mexican redrump tarantula threats

Like other tarantulas of the genus Brachypelma, the Mexican redrump tarantula  is considered vulnerable to extinction due to collection for the pet trade, combined with destruction of its natural habitat and a high rate of mortality before individuals reach sexual maturity (4) (6).

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Mexican redrump tarantula conservation

To control and limit international trade in these spiders, the Mexican redrump tarantula, along with most other Brachypelma tarantulas, is included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that any international trade in this species should be carefully monitored. This should hopefully regulate the trade and prevent this species from becoming endangered (1) (6). In Mexico, permits are required to collect or remove any spider belonging to the Theraphosid family from the wild (7).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

Learn more about tarantulas at:

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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

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Fossorial
Used to describe an animal that is adapted to living underground, typically one that digs burrows.
Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
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References

  1. CITES (January, 2010)
    http://www.cites.org
  2. Edwards, G.B. and Hibbart, K.L. (1999) The Mexican redrump, Brachypelma vagans (Araneae: Theraphosidae), an exotic tarantula established in Florida. Entmology Circular, 394, 1-2.
  3. Valerio, C.E. (1980) Arañas terafosidas de Costa Rica (Araneae, Theraphosidae). I. Sericopelma y Brachypelma. Brenesia, 18: 259-288.
  4. M’Rabet, S.M., Henaut, Y., Rojo, R. and Calme, S. (2005) A not so natural history of the tarantula Brachypelmavagans: Interaction with human activity. Journal of Natural History, 39(27): 2515-2523.
  5. M’Rabet, S.M., Henaut, Y., Sepulveda, A., Rojo, R., Calme, S. and Geissen, V. (2007) Soil preference and burrow structure of an endangered tarantula, Brachypelma vagans (Mygalomorphae:Theraphosidae). Journal of Natural History, 41: 1025-1033.
  6. Locht, A., Yanez, M. and Vazquez, I. (1999) Distribution and natural history of Mexican species of Brachypelma and Brachypelmides (Theraphosidae, Theraphosinae) with morphological evidence for their synonymy. Journal of Arachnology, 27: 196–200.
  7. West, R.C. (2005) The Brachypelma of Mexico. Journal of the British Tarantula Society, 20(4): 108-119.
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Mexican redrump tarantula suspending itself between two leaves using its legs  
Mexican redrump tarantula suspending itself between two leaves using its legs

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