Poecilotheria metallica is an Old World species of tarantula. It is the only blue species of the genus Poecilotheria. Like others in its genus it exhibits an intricate fractal-like pattern on the abdomen. The species’ natural habitat is deciduous forest in Andhra Pradesh, in central southern India.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
- Family: Theraphosidae
- Genus: Poecilotheria
- Species: P. metallica
- Binomial name: Poecilotheria metallica
Population information is not available. Since it has been recorded to date from a single location (despite surveys conducted in adjacent areas by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department ERM Laboratory in Srisailam), it is likely that the species has a very restricted extent of occurrence, is very rare and in a single location with declining habitat quality.
This species is desired by many tarantula enthusiasts, with adults sometimes pricing above $500 in the United States. Demand for 2-week-old unsexed spiderlings at US$200 is high, and there are examples of their being sold for much more.
Prices can vary in other locations, particularly Europe. Like many spiders, the gender can influence price; females live for about 12 years, 3 to 4 times longer than males, making them more expensive. Also females are considered to be more useful for breeding, making demand higher.
They are hardy, relatively fast-growing spiders that are generally fed crickets, but can take on anything from a common fruit fly when spiderlings, to a new-born (pinky) mouse or anole when adults. They measure between 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in) in legspan when fully grown. In captivity, humid environments with temperatures between 18 to 24 °C (64 to 75 °F) and a humidity level of 75 to 85% are preferred.
“The habitat where the species occurs is completely degraded due to lopping for firewood and cutting for timber. The habitat is under intense pressure from the surrounding villages as well as from insurgents who use forest resources for their existence and operations.
It is assumed that the area of habitat has decreased over the years, but there is definitely a decline in quality of habitat for the spiders who seek cavities and deep crevices in old growth forests. This species is categorized as CR because of its range restricted to less than 100 km², single location and continuing decline in habitat quality.
Poecilotheria metallica has similar intricate geometric body coloration as other Poecilotheria species, but it is the only species in the genus to be covered in blue hair. While it is young, P. metallica is less chromatic, the coloring turns to blue as it matures.
This blue is much less significant in the mature females. Males also have more slender bodies, and their legs are longer. The definitive trait of a mature male are the revelation of emboli at the end of their pedipalps following their “mature molt.” Females can be determined through molt confirmations before maturity. When full size, P. metallica’s leg span is 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm).
Poecilotheria metallica images
Poecilotheria metallica for sale