Monocentropus

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Monocentropus

Monocentropus balfouri Pocock, 1897, also known as “Socotra island blue baboon”, is a very remarkable bird spider due to its coloration and behavior from Socotra-island, part of the Republic of Yemen. However she’s been linked with baboon spiders, she belongs to the subfamily of the Eumenophorinae and not the Harpactirinae. African bird spiders are commonly given the title of baboon spider, which explains why she carries the name.

The species is very popular amongst hobbyists, because of their cuddly appearance and communal capabilities. In 2014 she was even voted the most beautiful bird spider on earth (source). More than 30 spiders have been described, but Atrophothele socotrana and Monocentropus balfouri are the only endemic species from Socotra belonging to the suborder of the Mygalomorphae.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Genus: Monocentropus

Behaviour

The Socotra Island Blue Baboon is a relatively rare and new tarantula to the trade. This is a fast growing, semi-dwarf species that can reach maturity at the age of two (2) years. At full size this tarantula can reach a size of 10-12cm with the male not much smaller than the female. This semi-fast tarantula lifespan is yet to be determined for males and females alike, however a female has been rumoured to survive for 20 years.

Origin

Socotra, part of the Republic of Yemen. The high degree of endemism on Socotra is a result of complete seclusion, which makes the entire archipelago (Socotra, Abd-al-Kuri, Samha en Darsa) extremely interesting for both biogeographical and evolutionary reasons. Some of the endemic species in the Haghier mountains are probably the remains of ancient fauna and flora, as the location never overflood since Mesozoïcum. Therefore Socotra is listed as World Heritage by Unesco.

Habitat: The climate for Socotra is a tropical desert climate and semi-desert climate with an annual temperature over 18°C (64°F). Yearly rainfall is light, but is fairly spread throughout the year. Generally the higher inland areas receive more rain than the coastal lowlands, due to orographic lift provided by the interior mountains.

Feeding

Feeding is normal as they take to crickets and odd roaches easily. They will eat ones a week or three times a week dependent on how much food is provided and their metabolic rate. Just drop a cricket or two in front of them and they will gobble it up readily. Shedding is like normal with the Socotra refusing to eat before a molt.

During breeding feeding could go up to a daily feed with the recommended temperature being high. With its homeland having as high temperatures as 40˚C + you can safely increase the temp to about 36˚C by providing a heating mat or cord on one side of the enclosure during breeding.

Monocentropus images

Image by Danny de Bruyne from Pixabay

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