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Spiders & Tarantulas

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Do you find Spiders/Tarantulas scary, threatening etc basically do you have Arachnaphobia?
 16%  [ 2 ]
 83%  [ 10 ]
Total Votes : 12

732748.  Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:35 pm Reply with quote

minus a million, because it has actually been debunked on QI as well...
(though i can't remember the episode. might actually be that i read it in the book of general ignorance, come to think of it... in which case, only minus 500)

1317509.  Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:32 am Reply with quote

My favourite tarantula is the pink-toe from S. America.

1) It's considered not to be a 'Spider' by purists as it's in the Mygalomorphae infraorder (primative spiders) rather than Araneomorphae (true spiders)!
[Edit: terminology clarified in response to feedback, thank you]

'Spider,' of course, is a common name and is defined by use, not by science. They would surely freak out when our family refer to out local /Tegenaria gigantea/ Giant House Spiders as 'Elephants!' :-D

2) As a tarantula, it in named after an unrelated spider from a totally different part of the world!

The /Lycosa tarantula/ Wolf Spider that is found near Taranto, Apulia - check out the dance that's supposed to cure a bite - usually danced by young women. Perhaps they get bitten more. ;-)

3) It's latin name is /Avicularia avicularia/ as a result of early pictures showing one eating a bird and being nicknamed 'Bird-Eater'.

Avicularia doesn't 'Bird Eater' - that's more like Aviculinaria :-)
It translates most closely as simply 'bird-related.'
The name Linnaeus chose was influenced by an extraordinary work of art and science published 50 years previously - see point 4.

3) They don't (quite) eat birds...

Technically, they can, of course and (rarely) catch local hummingbirds stealing their webs, and may get some nutrition from them, however, they have a pumping stomach and find non-liquid food impossible to eat having only the ability to 'drink' food - usually assisted by venom breaking down the food.

Once they've droppped the food I have never personally seen any interest in any unmoving food except to drink droplets of moisture from the surface of it but there are some accounts of them dining on carrion. I would be interested in any primary data on that behaviour.

4) They don't have pink toes!

They are black with orange toes.

The fantastic first sketches by Maria Sibylla Merian showed them accurately but she made her own paints from natural materials and, although expert at it, some discolouration was natural and this was compounded by cheap copies spreading around europe and untrustworthy publishers. They were refered to as 'pink' toed and believed to be giants as people were sure the birds depicted had to be the size of thier familiar thrushes, etc. rather than smaller that tiner that a wren.

Strangly, when young they are pink, with black toes! :-)

5) I keep them and they are just beautiful in appearance & by nature.

TOTALLY biased! :-D


[Some good sources are:

Last edited by TaoistYang on Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:45 am; edited 1 time in total

1317559.  Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:41 pm Reply with quote

Great info and pics, thank you!

1317576.  Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:09 pm Reply with quote

TaoistYang wrote:
My favourite tarantula is the pink-toe from S. America.

1) It's considered not to be a Spider by purists as it's in the Theraposa family rather than Aranea!

Theraphosidae is the Family and Araneae is the Order. It is a member of Class Arachnida and Order Araneae which means it's a spider.

1317630.  Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:39 am Reply with quote

Not disagreeing... perhaps you could have quoted the next few words too... "'Spider,' of course, is a common name and is defined by use, not by science."

I do, however, note that I was lazy and suggested the incorrect level of classification that lies behind the terminology. The distiction holds as the Tarantula is deemed a 'primative spider' and not a 'true spider' but that difference is most clearly identified at the infraorder level being a split between the Araneomorphae and the Mygalomorphae.

As stated in my little piece, I don't hold with this purist view. If one holds with a scientific distinction then it should be described scientifically. In common terms they are all spiders to me too, and I feel, rather than 'Primative' & 'True', they should probably (more acurately) be termed 'Early' & 'Modern'. :-)

I've made a slight terminology edit on the prior post to reflect the clarification. Thank you.

( I care for over 1,000 inverts atm... the vast majority being Tarantulas, but with many 'true's' along with scorps, millis, centis, sticks, leafs, beetles, moths, roaches & others... the Avics are always a pleasure to deal with. :-) )

1317644.  Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:23 am Reply with quote

The word "spider" in conjunction with the phrase "a pleasure to deal with" does not compute for me.


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