Video of Tarantula Moulting

I’ve tried several times unsuccessfully to video one of my tarantulas moulting. On more than one occasion I’ve timed things just right, set up a camera and got some footage, but either the lighting has been bad, or the focus was out, or the angle was wrong… So I was very pleased this morning when I came across this lovely video from YouTube user Tarantupedia of a Xenesthis sp tarantula going through the entire moulting process.

Apparently it’s 10 hours of footage compressed down to around 5 minutes. The quality is really good, and different parts of the video are sped up more than others to really good effect (it’s normal speed for the really interesting stuff, and speeds up when nothing much happens for a while – some great editing!)

At the start you’ll see the spider’s regular colouration and the baldness of the abdomen (due to shedding urticating bristles since the previous moult). Then there are some excellent close up shots of the spider loosening itself from the exuvium (old skin) and pulling itself free. Notice those bright white fangs! (they are soft in that state so the spider can’t eat for the first few days, they darken as they harden up!) It’s a pity the video doesn’t carry on a little longer and show the Tarantula after it has flipped back up to standing, as it will continue to stretch at that point for a while (it’s effectively using blood pressure to stretch out the new skin) and also to show the new colouration properly before the new skin hardens up.

Anyway, still a great video – hope you enjoy it!

Spiders Can Be Beautiful Too!

peacock-spiderI’m often impressed by the photographic skills of some Flickr users, and every now and then I find a set of pictures on there which wouldn’t look at all out of place in the pages of National Geographic.  This morning I found such a set, and even better it was of an amazing looking species of spider I’d never even heard of before!

Flickr user Jurgen Otto is an arachnologist from Sydney, Australia and so has access to a wide range of exotic species to practice his fantastic photography skills on, but the set that particularly caught my eye was of the Peacock spider (Maratus calcitrans) and I’m sure you’ll agree that these are truly beautifu!

Far removed from the popular image of a “big brown hairy thing with lots of legs”, the males of these small jumping spiders have amazing, iridescent colour patterns on both the prosoma and abdomen, truly rivalling the brilliance of the brightest butterflies.  They are so bright and vivid it’s easy to see how they got their common name.

Not only are these beauties amazing to look at, but they appear to like showing off too!  When a male approaches a female he uses these markings for display, raising his abdomen, legs and spinnerets, and wiggling them from side to side.  Otto has captured this behaviour beautifully in these photos.

Take a look at the entire set, plus loads of photos of other amazing Maratus species such as Maratus splendens, and Maratus speciosus, plus other inverts and reptiles at Flicker.com

(Photo used with permission, © Jurgen Otto 2013)


Update : I found this amazing video, again by Jurgen Otto, of another species of Peacock Spider performing their mating displays.  These little guys are even more interesting when you see them moving… enjoy!