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Tarantulas (as the term is used in North America) comprise a group of often hairy and often very large arachnids belonging to the family Theraphosidae, of which approximately 900 species have been identified. Some members of the same Suborder may also be called "tarantulas" in the common parlance.

Some genera of tarantulas hunt prey primarily in trees; others hunt on or near the ground. All tarantulas can produce silk—while arboreal species will typically reside in a silken "tube tent", terrestrial species will line their burrows with silk to stabilize the burrow wall and facilitate climbing up and down. Tarantulas mainly eat insects and other arthropods, using ambush as their primary method of prey capture. The biggest tarantulas can kill animals as large as lizards, mice, and birds.They can be found in the south and west parts of the USA, Central America, and down throughout South America to the southern parts of Chile, Argentina. Tarantulas can also be found throughout Africa, large parts of Asia and all over Australia. In Europe, there are some species in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy, and in Cyprus. Most tarantulas are harmless to humans, and some species are popular in the exotic pet trade. All tarantulas are venomous, but only some species have venom that, while not known to have ever produced human fatalities, can produce extreme discomfort over a period of several days.

Like all arthropods, the tarantula is an invertebrate that relies on an exoskeleton for muscular support. A

Tarantula
Tarantula, Attacking Position, Photo by Sascha Grabow
Tarantula ready to strike

Range

Worldwide but mostly found on southern hemisphere; Africa, Australia.

Diet

Mostly insects but some of the larger species have been known to catch and eat mice, frogs and even birds.

Weapons and Traits

Long sharp fangs, venom, is very agile and quick, very quick strike.

Battle Status

Lost to the Scorpion.

tarantula’s body consists of two main parts, the prosoma (cephalothorax) and the opisthosoma (abdomen). The prosoma and opisthosoma are connected by the pedicle, or what is often called the pregenital somite. This waist-like connecting piece is actually part of the prosoma and allows the opisthosoma to move in a wide range of motion relative to the prosoma.

The sizes range from as small as a fingernail to as big as a dinner plate. Depending on the species, the body length of tarantulas ranges from 2.5 to 10 centimetres (1 to 4 in), with 8–30-centimetre (3–12 in) leg spans. Leg span is determined by measuring from the tip of the back leg to the tip of the front leg on the opposite side. The largest species of tarantula can weigh over 85 grams (3 oz). The largest of all, the Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) from Venezuela and Brazil, has been reported to have a weight of 150 grams (5.3 oz) and a leg-span of up to 30 centimetres (12 in), males being the longer and females greater in girth.

T. apophysis (the Pinkfoot Goliath) was described 187 years after the Goliath Birdeater; therefore its characteristics are not as well attested.T. blondi is generally thought to be the heaviest tarantula, and T. apophysis to have the greatest leg span. Two other species, Lasiodora parahybana (the Brazilian Salmon Birdeater) and L. klugi, rival the size of the two Goliath spiders.

The majority of North American tarantulas are brown. Elsewhere have been found species colored cobalt blue (Haplopelma lividum), black with white stripes (Aphonopelma seemanni), yellow leg markings (Eupalaestrus campestratus), metallic blue legs with vibrant orange abdomen and greenbottle blue (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens). Their natural habitats include savanna, grasslands such as the pampas, rainforests, deserts, scrubland, mountains, and cloud forests. They are generally classed among the terrestrial types. They are burrowers that live in the ground.

Tarantulas are becoming increasingly popular as pets and are readily available in captivity.

Like other spiders, tarantulas have to shed their exoskeleton periodically in order to grow, a process called moulting. A young tarantula may do this several times a year as a part of the maturation process, while full grown specimens will only moult once a year or less, or sooner in order to replace lost limbs or lost urticating hairs. It is clear that moulting will soon occur when the exoskeleton takes on a darker shade. If a tarantula previously used its urticating hairs, the bald patch will turn from a peach color to deep blue.

Tarantulas may live for years—most species taking 2 to 5 years to reach adulthood, but some species may take up to 10 years to reach full maturity. Upon reaching adulthood, males typically have but a 1 to 1.5 year period left to live and will immediately go in search of a female with which to mate. Male tarantulas rarely moult again once they reach adulthood. The oldest spider, according to Guinness World Records, lived to be 49 years old.

Females will continue to moult after reaching maturity. Female specimens have been known to reach 30 to 40 years of age, and have survived on water alone for up to 2 years. Grammostola rosea spiders are renowned for going for long periods without eating.

Battle against the scorpionEdit

A scorpion is feasting on the body of a cricket it has just caught. A turantula is sneaking through the undergrowth, looking for prey, when it feels the vibrations of the scorpion tearing into its prey. Is slowly, leg by leg, inches over to the scorpion untill it is at the side of it. It readies itself before leaping into the air. However its aim is off and instead of landing on the scorpion, as it planned, it lands right next to it, alerting the scorpion to its presence. The armoured arachnid slams it tail down at the turantula but it side steps the attack and strikes the scorpion with its large fangs, scraping the armour. The scorpion grabs on of the turantula's legs and slices it off but it hardley fazes the spider who runs around to the other side of scorpion and digs its fangs into the scorpions back. Unfortunatly the fangs do not prenetrate all the way into the flesh of the scorpion, instead getting stuck in the armour, leaving the turantula vunrable. The scorpion takes its chance and slams its tinger into the turantulas unprotected back. The turantula tries to squim free but the scorpion is having none of it and crushes the spiders head with its pinchers. The turantula stops moving and the scorpion yanks it out of its armour. It lays the turantula on the ground and begins feasting on its body.

Winner Scorpion

Experts opinion

The scorpion won due to its armour which stopped the turantula from killing it and its multitude of weapons which made short work of the turantula.

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