• Pamphobeteus antinous (Bolivian Blueleg)

      Subfamily: Theraphosinae
      Genus: Pamphobeteus
      Species: antious
      Common Name: Bolivian Blueleg
      Explorer: Pocock
      Year of Discovery: 1903
      Country: Bolivia and Peru
      Tarantula World: New World

      Natural Habitat:
      From rain forests of Bolivia and Peru, these are tropical spiders that are obligate burrowers that have been known to dig long, 5-foot tube tunnels.

      Temperament:
      Please note that individuals can vary in temperament widely. This species is noted for being particularly shy, flighty and defensive, readily flicking its particularly irritating urticating hairs. Often, they will throw their rump up in the air as a warning. I have watched mine throw hairs as she was lifting it. If this does not deter, they are very capable and fast runners, stridulating loudly as they run. In my experience, my girl was not at all ready to bite or even throw a threat pose, but would throw the rump high and flick. With time and work, she was much less flicky, but still capable of running quite fast. And while we do not endorse handling tarantulas here, I have experienced trying to keep her in hand as she ran. She would run and almost fling herself off the end of my hand, hanging on with her back legs, and swinging underneath. A very worrisome experience as the risk of falling seemed very high and her weight at 8” was quite significant.
      Growth/Size:
      Growth rate is moderate with individuals maturing in 2.5-5 years. Adult females range in size from 6 inches up to 10 or even 11 inches (I know a commercial T breeder in the states that claims her female is 11 inches). Apparently, Bolivian specimens may reach larger sizes that Peruvians. Males are smaller. My girl (obtained in adulthood) was a solid 8”. Females are also quite stocky animals. My 8” girl was between 50-60 grams, out weighing my 8.5” Lasiodora parahybana by 5-10 grams.
      Experience Level:
      These are an intermediate level tarantula as there are shy, skittish, defensive, can be feisty. And they are very fast. Their care is more particular as they apparently do not tolerate higher temperatures like many species of tarantulas, and I have read some describing them as “swamp spiders” meaning they need very humid conditions. I did not find this to be the case with mine.
      Temperature:
      While these are tropical spiders that do well with warmer temps, care must be taken to not let them get too warm. 76-82oF during the day, 68-72oF at night.
      Humidity:
      80% humidity. These need more humid conditions than many species of tarantulas.


      Enclosure:
      As a larger terrestrial species, these do well with some space. 10 to 20-gallon tanks should be adequate, with 20-gallon better. A fall from even a short distance could be fatal, so keep the distance from the top of the enclosure to the substrate no more than 1.5 times the diagonal leg span of the spider. It is preferable to have these with more substrate than vertical space so they can burrow, and to prevent them from climbing and falling from heights in their tank. Soon after acquiring my girl, I found her hanging 8-10” above the substrate from the vent in the center of her lid. I had to rescue her a few times.


      Substrate:
      EcoEarth (coconut husk). You may make a mix of Vermiculite and Eco Earth (75/25). From my experience, Peat Moss does cultivate molds very easily, and thus would not be recommended for this species. Avoid any Evergreen woods (Cypress, Reptile Bark) inside of the enclosure. Evergreen woods 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. Molds can also be inhibited by allowing the substrate to dry out completely (just keep the water dish filled). But isopods require moist environments, so do not dry it out if you keep them in the tank.




      Diet:
      Crickets, mealworms, wax worms, superworms, 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 mealworms) as these are mealworms 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). Furthermore, online information often recommends feeding larger tarantulas an occasional baby mouse (i.e. pinky); this is not recommended here on the grounds that the extra calcium can be harmful to their exoskeletons.

      Pamphobeteus antinousis a voracious feeder and fun to watch eat. They seem to love to eat. But unlike other tarantula species, they often seem to lack the sense of satiaty, and I hear roomers they will overeat to their demise. Care must betaken to not over feed these disposals.



      Water:
      Make sure to offer a water bowl, the size should be half the size of the species. Do not use any sponges, cotton balls or paper towel (as these are breeding grounds for bacteria) or water crystals inside of water bowl, just clean water. Small rocks may be added. 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 aweek, should be plenty enough. Your tarantula may 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.
      Longevity:
      Females may live up to 15 years, males 4-5.
      Maturity female:
      Females may take 3-4 years to mature. Increasing temperature and feeding schedule can speed up these times (which may shorten their life span as well).
      Maturity male/ Tibial Apophysis:
      Yes, males may take 2-3 years to mature and live less than a year after maturing. Increasing temperature and feeding schedule can speed up these times (which may shorten their life span as well).
      Communal Setup:
      These are not considered communal, though a species VERY similar and likely related (P. sp. “chicken spider”) is considered communal. Do not attempt to house these together unless breeding a male and female, and then, keep a close eye on them as she may cannibalize him in the mating process.
      Color Markings: A velvety brown to black tarantula with a short, dense velvet that is striking. On their abdomen, they have long, brown highlight hairs towards their rear that seem to converge on their rump. These may molt to a gorgeous velvety black, but will fade much before their next molt. Females are stocky, yet their legs are not as thick as seems typical of tarantulas. The similar and likely related species (P. sp. “chicken spider”) has thicker legs and apparently doesn't fade as much. Mature males have blue on their femurs. Like other Pamphobeteus juveniles have a red abdomen with a black Christmas tree pattern up the dorsal side.
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      Special Note:
      These beauties are flighty and skittish, but calm down and grow bolder with age. Yet I also read reports of many that are quite calm and even handleable. They are not readily found in the hobby. I do not know much about breeding them, understand they are difficult to breed. Best to breed in autumn, and females must not be over fed. Females may lay a sac two to four months after pairing, and must be undisturbed during this time as she is quite prone to eating the sac. While the sac can be pulled 4-5 weeks after she lays it to avoid her eating it, incubating the sac is quite challenging. If successful, the typical sac may have tens of spiderlings, and if fortunate, a few hundred.

      More can be read about this amazing species on our fan club page:


      http://www.tarantulasus.com/showthread.php/6130-Pamphobeteus-antinous
      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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