• Caribena versicolor (Antilles or Martinique Pinktoe) - Care Sheet

      Subfamily: Aviculariinae
      Genus: Caribena
      Species: versicolor
      Common Name: Antilles (or sometimes Martinique) Pinktoe
      Described by: Walckenaer
      Year of Discovery: 1837
      Country: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Lesser Antilles
      Tarantula World: New World

      Their Natural Habitat:
      Arboreal. Caribena versicolor are known to be communal in the wild, but are not easily kept as communals in captivity. They live in the trees on tropical islands.

      This species is considered to be docile. Please keep in mind that though species have their stereotype temperament, individual spiders can exhibit temperaments that vary significantly from the norm. I personally have read of a number of bite reports from this species, so they appear to be more likely to bite than other Avics. The higher incidents of bites may also be because owners expect this species to be like any other unprovokable pinktoe. I have never been bit by my 6” girl I have had since a sling, but it is always a possibility. What my girl will do more readily is squirt poo after a few minutes of being out of tank and in hand. As slings, they can be fast-moving and mine would readily jump. In 4 years, I have seen her flick only twice. Never seen her rump bald. This is one of only three spider in my collection (over 50 through the years) that will drink out of the palm of my hand.
      Classified as medium growth rate. Up to 6".
      Experience Level:
      Intermediate (due to its delicate requirements of humidity and ventilation).
      66°- 86°F according to their native climate. I keep mine between 80°and 85°F

      70– 80%. These are tropical island species so they do well with higher humidity, I mist my girl's tank walls a few times a week. As slings, these are particularly delicate spiders, and have a reputation (even slightly more than the general Avicularia genus) to die without warning or reason. In my experience, they need a tricky balance of high humidity and ventilation, especially as slings. The ventilation is to prevent molds from growing in the tank (as big a killer as dehydration with this species). Older juvies and adults are more hardy, but definitely still need moisture in the cage.

      As an arboreal species these need more vertical space than horizontal. I house mine in a home-made plexi tank that is 8”x8” floor space and 12” vertical. This is likely the smallest size tank (I should upgrade to a larger tank). Provide a branch or something to climb on, though they may take to the walls of the enclosure. A vertical bark leaned against the cage offers a location for versicolors to make their tube webs behind. Mine readily makes a tube web in the top corner of the tank that she spends more time in as she get closer to a molt, usually sealing off the two or three entrances a few weeks before molting.

      Eco Earth (coconut husk). You may make a mix of Vermiculite and Eco Earth (75/25). From my experience, Peat Moss does cultivate molds very easily. Avoid any Evergreen woods (Cypress, Reptile Bark) inside of the enclosure. Evergreens contain natural insecticidal oils that can harm your Tarantula if exposed long enough. Isopods (rolly-polies, or pillbugs) are a good cleaner to keep in the substrate that will help reduce the risk of mold, but they require moisture. You need to watch out for mold in the tank as versicolors do not handle molt well.

      Crickets, meal worms, waxworms, super worms, Blaptica dubia or Blatta lateralis roaches. Please do not offer wild caught prey, as it may contain pesticides (and potential parasites) which can harm or kill your Tarantula. Also never feed your tarantula “kingworms” (giant meal worms) as these are mealvworms that have been fed juvenile growth hormones to prevent them from maturing so they grow bigger. JGH are a common insecticide and would not be good for your invertebrate tarantula! (I received this from a personal conversation with a cricket/worm breeder near me). Fruthermore, crickets and roaches are the best nutrition for tarantulas, and mealworms and superworms should be fed as treats, not as a staple. Finally, mice and other invertebrates are too high in calcium for tarantulas and need never be fed to them.

      My experience is that my Avic. versicolor is one of my thirstiest Ts, right up there with my Greenbottle Blue, so do not neglect their drinking needs. Make sure to offer a water bowl, the size should be half the size of the spider. Do not use any sponges, cotton balls or paper towel or water crystals inside of water bowl, just clean water. Small rocks may be added. If possible, mount the bowl higher in the tank rather than sitting it on the floor. I have hot-glued the bowl onto a branch halfway up the tank. Clean the water bowl once a week or when you feel it is necessary. Crickets or roaches may end up dead in the water, in which case you should clean it right away. Spiderlings are too small to have a water bowl, misting one side of the enclosure wall 1-2 times a week, should be plenty enough. Your tarantula will often fill the dish with substrate, or even poop in it, but continue to provide clean water. Also I periodically wet the substrate, allowing that to dry out completely to prevent mold growth. Moisture and humidity is important for this species, more so that other Avicularia species.
      Females can live up to 12 years, while males may live 3 years.
      Maturity female:
      2-4 years depending on how often they are fed and how warm their enclosure is kept.
      Maturity male/ Tibial Apophysis:
      1-2 years, which is only an estimate. / Yes, on first set of leg.
      Communal Setup:
      Not recommended for this species, though they are known to be communal in the wild.

      Color Markings:
      The Caribena versicolor tarantula is one of the most colorful tarantulas in the world. Slings are a bright blue, while adults have wine red or purple hairs on the legs and abdomen.Their base hairs on the legs may be a deep forest green, and their carapace (head) is bright blue or green. From my observation, there seems to be two varieties in the hobby – one with a blue carapace, the other with a light green carapace. The green-carapaced versicolors have an amazing purple irridescence to the highlight hairs on the back legs and rump, while the blue variety versicolors have only a hint of that irridescence. This is a striking and beautiful tarantula. Also, the blue-carapaced individuals' carapace will turn green in high humidity. Colors are most vivid immediately after a molt.

      Special Note:
      These tarantulas are moderately difficult to breed. Females lay cocoons containing roughly 50 to 100) eggs a few months after mating. Egg sacs should be left with mothers until they hatch on their own. Nymphs hatch 68 weeks later. Males should not be left with the females unattended as they may be eaten (thus preventing your chances of further breeding attempts). Make sure never to keep a tarantula enclosure directly in the sun. No light is necessary for your tarantula's habitat. Natural lighting is perfectly fine.

      Read more about them on our fan club page here:
      CITES List
      These are not on the CITES II list (as far as I can see), but captive-bred specimens are available.
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      Comments 2 Comments
      1. ManlyMan7's Avatar
        ManlyMan7 -
        And a pic of the versicolor pictured above when she was a little one. Such awesome Ts!

        Attachment 64584
      1. Ranchibi's Avatar
        Ranchibi -
        The first T that made me say WOW! Perfect Care Sheet ManlyMan7! Thank you