AKA: Chilean flame tarantula, Chilean fire tarantula, Chilean red-haired tarantula, Chilean rose hair tarantula, or Rose haired tarantula
Order: Araneae - spiders
Family: Theraphosidae -tarantulas
Scientific name: Grammostola rosea
Description: Spiders have two body sections of the body, the cephalothorax and the abdomen. The cephalothorax is the section with the mouth, eight eyes, and where all the legs attach. The top portion of the cephalothorax is called the carapace. The abdomen is the rear portion of a spider’s body and has the spinnerets. Colors of the carapace exoskeleton range from dark brown to light pink in color. The hairs are reddish orange to pink. Leg span can be 3 to 6 inches. Spiders have 8 legs and 2 pedipalps. They also have 8 eyes, but cannot see very well.
Home Range: Bolivia, Northern Chile, and Argentina
Habitat type: Mostly deserts and scrubland.
Reproductive habits: Sexual Maturity is reached after about 2 to 3 years.
Upon his last molt the male will have tibial spurs or “mating hooks” on his front legs. These are used during courtship to hold the female’s chelicerae (the appendages with the fangs). To begin the mating ritual the male will attempt to lure the female out of her den by tapping the ground and webbing near her den’s opening. After the female approaches, a mating ritual will occur. If the female accepts the male, then the male will hold the chelicerae up exposing the female’s epigyne (external genitalia). The male will then use his pedipalps to fertilize the female. After being fertilized the female will make an egg sac with her webbing. These egg sacs contain about 500 spiderling eggs.
It is a common belief that the female tarantula eats the male during mating. While this can occur, it is the exception, not the rule.
Diet in Wild: Tarantulas catch their prey with speed, not webbing. They eat almost anything they can grasp with their pedipalps. Their primary prey includes small insects (grasshoppers, beetles, sow bugs, cockroaches, crickets, and other spiders), small lizards, scorpions, and an occasional small bird or rodent. Prey is caught with the jaws and then venom is injected into the prey. The internal organs of the prey are liquefied by the venom and then “sucked up” by the tarantula’s specialized mouth parts.
Diet in Zoo: Crickets
General Info: Rose-haired tarantulas, like many other tarantulas, use their hairs as a defense. These hairs have microscopic barbs that can be irritating or painful when in contact with skin or eyes. The spider can ‘fling’ the hairs with their legs if they are threatened.
This species of tarantula is nocturnal.
Tarantulas are one of the only spiders that use their pedipalps for walking. However their primary function is to manipulate food.
The largest tarantula is the Goliath bird-eating tarantula. This tarantula can be over 12 inches long and is also found in South America.
Tarantulas only account for .9 % of spider bites in the United States. There is no record of a tarantula’s bite killing a human. It has been described as feeling like a very painful bee sting.
Predators: Large vertebrates (snakes, lizards, mammals, birds), other tarantulas, and the hunting wasps of the Pompilidae family. These hunting wasps seek out live tarantulas and paralyze them using their stinger. Once the tarantula is paralyzed they drag the tarantula to a burrow where they bury the tarantula with their eggs. The larvae feed on the tarantula when they hatch. The wasp is able to drag the tarantula even though it is on average 1/10th the size of the tarantula.
Conservation status: They are currently not threatened. Full status is unknown due to a lack of research. They are commonly found in the pet trade due to their docile nature. Due to their popularity as pets, they may become protected if they continue to be extracted from the wild.
Browning, John G. (1989). Tarantulas. Neptune City, N. J.: T.F.H. Publications.
“Rose Hair Tarantulas or Chilean rose Hair" | Critterology.com | Veterinary Pet Care Info & Advice. Web. 31 March 2011.
“Necrotic Arachnidism – Pacific Northwest, 1988-1996.” CDC WONDER. 31 May 1996. Web. 31 March 2011.