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Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates & Small Pets : Curly Hair Tarantula Facts


Hi, I’d like to introduce you to another amazing
arthropod. This is an arachnid. It’s the curly hair tarantula, brachypelma albopilosum, and
you’ll find this creature in tropical regions of Central America. One of the interesting
defensive adaptations of this spider is the fact that it will kick these hairs off the
back of its abdomen, known as urticating hairs. And if you saw them under a microscope they
would look like straightened out fish hooks, and what it’ll do is if a predator is approaching,
it’ll actually kick them off the the back of its abdomen, and those will irritate the
nasal membranes of the potential predator. It may even get in the predator’s eyes. For
a long time tarantula hairs were used in itching powder. They’re irritating to humans as well,
and I want to see if I can get him to demonstrate that for you. If I stimulate his abdomen he
may decide to show it to us, but he’s not so I can certainly point out a couple of interesting
features. He’s got these feelers right here in the front. Those are called pedipalps,
and he uses those to touch the ground and sense his prey. He’s covered with sensory
hairs, which is his primary means of sensing prey in his environment. It eats things that
are a lot smaller than itself of course. It’ll eat small insects and millipedes. It’ll eat
other spiders. It will go after young reptiles, small baby lizards, and you can see him walking
across. He’s got a set of eyes on the top of his head known as a turret and they see
pretty much three hundred and sixty degrees around him, though they don’t really pick
up images. They’re more sensitive to light. And in the back here he’s got a pair of spinnerets.
He will coat the ground with those. The female will coat her, and there we go, I got a little
of the the silk coming out, and he’ll lay a a web on the ground, and can often use that
to trap prey when it wanders it. So this is the curly hair tarantula, another cool terrestrial
arthropod.

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