The Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana) is one of the top five largest spiders in the world and has a name nearly as big as its leg span. However, while it is truly a giant, it is also docile enough to be widely kept as a pet, and its bird-eating reputation is unfounded.
Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula: Description.
Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantulas are native to northeastern Brazil. They are primarily found near the Atlantic forest region of the country.
Males have smaller bodies but longer legs, spanning as wide as 11 inches. Females are bulkier looking than slender males and can weigh over two ounces as adults.
At maturity, these tarantulas are uniformly black with pinkish-red hairs on their abdomens, mouths, and legs. The pinkish color is more vivid in males.
Males have tibial hooks on their front two legs that they use to hook onto and hold back the female’s fangs when mating.
Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantulas: Mating habits.
Spider sex is hard, dangerous work for males and always requires a quick getaway on their part. However, Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula males have adapted a technique to improve their odds of survival—restraints.
When breeding, males make sperm webs by depositing sperm from their abdomens onto a webbed mat. They then wrap their pedipalps with this sperm-soaked matting and search for a female.
Using chemical cues, a male will locate a sexually available female, approach her, and determine if she will allow him to make contact.
If the female is willing, the male will force her back with his two tibial hooked front legs holding her fangs safely away from his abdomen. Then he will insert one of his pedipalps into the reproductive opening in the female’s abdomen (the epigastric furrow).
If he has the strength and determines the odds for survival are in his favor, he will insert the second pedipalp and quickly make his getaway.
The female may chase and consume him if he is too exhausted or slow.
The salmon pink bird-eating female will then produce an egg sac with 1500-3000 eggs in it. The spiderlings that hatch will reach maturity in two years and can live for up to 15 years.
Are the bites of pink bird-eating tarantulas dangerous?
All spiders will bite if attacked, and the Brazilian pink bird-eating tarantula has inch-long fangs. So their bites are painful. However, as we will see shortly, it’s not the bite that is genuinely hazardous to humans—it’s the hairs on their bellies.
When threatened, a tarantula will raise its legs and the front of its body in the air. This display makes the spider appear larger to a potential attacker.
If posturing does not thwart the attacker, the Brazilian pink bird-eating spider will deliver a bite likened to that of a house cat.
When hunting for prey, this spider does not make a web. Instead, it lays in wait on the forest floor and ambushes any large insects, small lizards, snakes, or frogs that wander into range. Upon striking, the Brazilian pink bird-eating tarantula bites with its fangs and injects a paralyzing venom into it.
Beware the hair of the Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula.
As we said, the bite hurts, but the real damage comes from the urticating hairs on the spider’s abdomen.
The Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula has urticating hairs that pose a hazard to humans. When disturbed, it will turn toward a threat and rub its opisthosoma to throw these hairs at it. Urticating hairs can kill smaller mammals, but the dangers lie in potential eye injury and respiratory harm in humans.
Salmon pink bird-eaters have Type I and III urticating hairs. Type III hairs are very irritating to humans and could result in blindness if they get into your eyes.
Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula: Taxonomy.
Taxonomic Hierarchy from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System – Report
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|Kingdom||Animalia – Animal, animaux, animals|
|Phylum||Arthropoda – Artrópode, arthropodes, arthropods|
|Subphylum||Chelicerata – cheliceriformes, quelicerado, queliceriforme|
|Subclass||Arachnida – araignées, aracnídeo, arachnids, arácnidos|
|Order||Araneae – spiders, aranhas, araignées, arañas|
|Family||Theraphosidae Thorell, 1869 – tarantulas|
|Genus||Lasiodora C. L. Koch, 1850|
|Species||Lasiodora parahybana Mello-Leitão, 1917 – Brazilian salmon tarantula|