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Cupiennius salei. Journal of the British Tarantula Society Vol. 22 (3)
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  1. #1
    Awatar BakuBak
    cze 2005

    Cupiennius salei. Journal of the British Tarantula Society Vol. 22 (3)

    Breeding Cupiennius salei in Captivity
    Radek P
    pod redakcją R Gallon

    Tarantulas dominate amongst spiders kept in captivity. They are large, hirsute, often colourful and make great pets for humans looking for a relaxing interest to occupy their life. However tarantulas are not the only spiders that can interest the keeper as this article will demonstrate. In this article I will describe my two years of experience keeping and breeding the araneomorph spider Cupiennius salei (Keyserling, 1877) – a member of the infamous Ctenidae family.

    So how did I start keeping these spiders? That’s simple, I saw them advertised on a price list - “new banana spider Cupiennius salei, super cool!” – and thought why not? And I bulk ordered some spiderlings.

    Initially they did not seem to be anything special, just another small, nasty Tegenaria atrica type spider. Fortunately, after a short period of time, my perceptions changed – my initial dismissal of them turning to delight. They grew large, with a leg-spans up to 15 cm and a body length of 3 cm, also displaying a very cool appearance and coloration. More importantly they brought a breath of fresh air into my hobby! With them it was like returning to my early days when I bought my first spider (Brachypelma albopilosum); sitting for hours in front of its enclosure whilst it just sat there doing nothing. You are probably bored with my reminiscing by now, so let’s get back to Cupiennius salei.

    Cupiennius salei lives in Central America where it is widespread, inhabiting rainforests. It does not build any silken retreats, instead utilising hiding spots provided by its environment. It can often be found sheltering on the underside of leaves and on tree trunks. The highest concentrations of this species can be found in the cool, wet highland (c.1000 m above sea level) coffee and tea plantations.

    During the day C. salei remains hidden waiting for night time. As soon it starts getting dark it leaves its shelter to go hunting; this is why Ctenidae are called wandering spiders. Cupiennius salei feeds on invertebrates, mostly on cockroaches and Lepidoptera, but is also capable of catching small vertebrates. When it comes to keeping C. salei in captivity its nocturnal activity periods are maintained, with increased activity noticeable during the evening or when the spider is hungry. However, from my experience there is no need to sustain a day-night rhythm in captivity, C. salei function well in continuous light as well as in continuous darkness. Artificial lighting isn't needed for successful keeping. The temperature should range between 15–28°C with its optimum at 21°C. It may fall at night but the drop shouldn't be higher than 4°C. Humidity should be maintained at c.75%RH since C. salei (especially the spiderlings) are sensitive to low humidity levels.

    I keep my spiders in ventilated plastic cereal containers (18 cm tall, 14 cm in diameter) which are decorated with pieces of pine bark and 2–3 cm of soil. This set up works perfectly fine, but there is nothing wrong with keeping them in larger containers; they are very active and often change their shelter position. If you decide on a bigger tank then it is important to include more shelters and plants (even synthetic ones).

    Cleaning duties are quite easy (C. salei prefer to hide than attack) but care is necessary because if the spider decides to run it will ‘teleport’ to the furthest part of your room. I’m not kidding, I’ve never seen anything move so fast!

    A few times I’ve witnessed some strange behaviour. After finishing its meal the spider would stick the leftover food bolus to a silk line and leave this to dangle 10–15 cm below its shelter. Perhaps this is used in the wild to entice prey items close, but on the other hand it might just be coincidence because I’ve not heard of similar behaviour from observations in the wild?

    I keep my Cupiennius spiderlings just like my tarantula spiderlings, but give them bigger containers than a similar sized tarantula would get. It is almost impossible to prevent them running out of their container when you open the lid, but don’t worry the spider will probably just abseil off your hand – you can just grab the silk line and lower the spider back into its container. It is also very important to keep the substrate wet as they are sensitive to drying out, often with fatal consequences. I have noticed that the spiderlings are cannibalistic, so keeping them communally is not a good idea.

    Spiderlings are initially very small and feeding with pre-killed items does not work, so before getting any spiderlings you should be prepared to supply enough small food items. Spiderlings can be fed with micro crickets, young cockroaches or Drosophila melanogaster. Small mealworms (1–3 mm) will also be taken. When they reach a 2 cm leg-span I start feeding them with larger mealworms, the adults will take mealworms and larger cockroaches.

    It is very interesting to observe them hunting flying prey items such as flies or moths. They will sit on the wall until the prey flies within range then jump, catching the prey in mid air and hanging off their silken bungee thread. I have heard about people feeding them with pink-mice but I’ve never tried this myself.

    Their venom is a very potent neurotoxin and prey items do not struggle for long (compared with those captured by tarantulas); they have the ability to control the amount of venom delivered to a particular prey item. Fortunately their venom is not dangerous to healthy adult humans (no fatalities recorded amongst humans bitten by this species) and they are not aggressive either; if we don't push them too hard they wont bite us! The same point of view was expressed in previous articles (Tomasinelli, 2000; Meinhart, 2001). An older article (Eckardt, 1989) presents the spider as deadly, but such a view is not supported by hobbyists and scientists, but it is always wise to be careful.

    Spiderlings up to 5–6th instar and males are uniformly brownish in coloration. In immature males (one or two moults from maturity) the pedipalp tarsi are distinctly swollen. Young and adult females are a combination of white, red, brown and black in coloration, with a distinct black band on the underside of the abdomen. The upper surface of the abdomen is black and white with a pattern resembling a demon’s face on it. The femurs and tibiae are banded in black, particularly on the underside and the patella is black. The sternum is lighter in colour than the coxae and lustrous.

    Eggs are pinhead sized and the fully developed spiderlings have a leg-span of about 2 mm. They are very small until the 3rd or 4th instar, but thereafter grow rapidly. Females live about 600 days and males 480 days from being laid. It takes about a year for them to mature.

    Cupiennius salei is very easy to breed, females do not show any aggression to the male while mating and the pair can even cohabit for a while in a larger container, however the male will be eaten eventually (in my experience the male will be eaten in 66% of cases after two weeks of cohabitation).

    Breeding notes
    Male-1 introduced to female-1.
    Mating noticed.
    Male removed after 10 days.

    Male-1 introduced to female-2.
    Mating noticed.
    Male-1 eaten after 3 days.
    Female-2 lost right leg IV; 3 egg-sacs spoiled.
    Female-2 dead c.5 months from maturing.

    Male-2 introduced to female-3.
    Mating noticed.
    Male-2 eaten after 7 days.
    Female-3 died c.20 days later.

    Female Cupiennius salei can produce more than one egg-sac. Female-1 created four egg-sacs and female-2 created three egg-sacs (spoiled due to lack of leg IV). In all egg-sacs from female-1 there were between 250–300 eggs; mortality was less than 5% up to the postembryo stage. As a result you will soon have a glut of spiderlings which you can pass to friends.

    The egg-sac can be constructed on any surface and at any angle and the eggs are covered with a thick gluey substrate within the sac. The female first prepares a basic web to lay her eggs on, then she covers them with additional web and rolls the egg-sac into a mobile cocoon. She carries the egg-sac near to her abdomen held by a silk line, but when she feels threatened she hides it under her body and protects it very aggressively.

    After 7–10 days from producing the egg-sac I’ve noticed some really interesting behaviour. The female was eating the top layer of silk on the sac making it look fuzzy and it expanded by about 15%. I think the female felt the movement of postembryos hatching within so she removed the thickest, less elastic layer of egg-sac silk to allow more room within for the developing young.

    Once the female opens the egg-sac completely the spiderlings emerge and create dense webbing in the immediate vicinity of the sac (adding to the 5–10 cm of webbing that their mother has already created around the sac). Then they wait on this web for 4 to 6 days until they’ve hardened enough and then they disperse in all directions. I have only once left an egg-sac in with the female to hatch and it was ‘hell on earth’ to capture them all from within her tank! The mother does not show any aggression towards her young.

    Here are the details from the breeding of Cupiennius salei female-1:
    15.08.2005: Maturing moult of female-1.
    17.10.2005: Mating (male-1).
    28:11.2005: Egg-sac produced.
    14.12.2005: Egg-sac removed and opened, 1st instar (nymph II) inside.
    18.12.2005: Spiderlings(2nd instar) emerged from opened egg-sac.
    01.01.2006: Second egg-sac produced.
    08.02.2006: Third egg-sac produced.
    18.02.2006: Female eats upper layer of third sac.
    27.02.2006: Spiderlings emerged from the third egg-sac in mother enclosure.
    01.04.2006: Fourth egg-sac produced – spoiled, incubation probably too dry.
    03.12.2006: Female still alive.
    15.01.2007: Female is dead.

    I hope this article will stimulate others to keep Cupiennius and that it provides some useful information towards this end. If you have any questions regarding this article you may contact me through my e-mail address:
    ● Did you know that Cupiennius were often imported into Europe with goods from former colonies? They earnt notoriety because people couldn't distinguish them from Phoneutria spp. that were imported at the same time.

    ● Do you know that Cupiennius salei can be called the laboratory rat of the spider world? Fortunately scientists are not scared of them today and it is one of the most thoughly researched spiders in the world.

    Barth, F. G. & Seyfarth, E. –A. 1979. Cupiennius salei Keyserling (Araneae) in the highlands of central Guatemala. Journal of Arachnology, 7: 255–263.
    Eckardt, D. 1989. Housing toxic Labidognathe spiders. Cupiennius salei from
    Panama. Journal of the British Tarantula Society, 5 (1): 27–28.
    Lapinski, W. 2003. Die Jagdspinnen der Gattung Cupiennius SIMON, 1891. DeArGe Mitteilungen, 8(6): 9–30.
    Meinhardt, M. 2001. Cupiennius salei - Haltung und Zucht. DeArGe Mitteilungen, 6(4): 4–6.
    Schmitt, A., Schuster, M. & Barth, F. G. 1990. Daily locomotor activity patterns in three species of Cupiennius (Araneae, Ctenidae): The males are the wandering spiders. Journal of Arachnology, 18(3): 249–255.
    Tomasinelli, F. 2000. Cupiennius salei. Journal of the British Tarantula Society, 15(3): 79–82.

    \\Dodałem numer czasopisma - Adsy

  2. #2
    Awatar RustyNail
    lut 2006
    Witaj Nieznajomy! Jeśli chcesz przeczytać cały wątek zarejestruj się bądź zaloguj!

  3. #3
    Awatar Adsy
    sie 2006
    Witaj Nieznajomy! Jeśli chcesz przeczytać cały wątek zarejestruj się bądź zaloguj!
    Zapraszam takze do innego serwisu terrarystycznego

  4. #4
    Awatar BakuBak
    cze 2005
    Witaj Nieznajomy! Jeśli chcesz przeczytać cały wątek zarejestruj się bądź zaloguj!

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