About a year ago I purchased three very young Mexican red knee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) spiderlings from Jamie Lessee (Jamie’s Tarantulas). I had already purchased two Mexican red knee tarantula siblings from Jamie in October, 2011 and started to think about the possibility of breeding this species in the future.
Because we knew the first set of two Mexican red knee tarantula siblings was unrelated to the second set of three Mexican red knee tarantula siblings, it seemed reasonable to make this purchase. I should have been able to get a good combination of spiders of different gender between the two sets of unrelated siblings. The combination of warm January weather and good price made clear that it was the thing to do. Because the cost of shipping is often greater than the cost of individual tarantula spiderlings, I added a red phase Chilean rose and a Honduran curly hair spiderling to the order at the last minute. I assumed there would be some mortality among the young spiderlings. I was wrong.
A year later all five of the spiderlings have proven to be exceptionally healthy, all have grown significantly, and four of the five are now sufficiently large that I’ve been able to determine gender.
In retrospect, I’m certainly glad I purchased the Honduran curly hair. It was an eager eater immediately, has been a rapid grower throughout the past year, and is easily handled. It has been by far the fastest grower, now having a diagonal leg measurement exceeding 2″. It is a reasonably heavy webber, webbing much of its environment, and is fairly active. Examination of the spider’s freshly molted exoskeleton on November 5, 2012 led to reasonable confidence that this individual is female. My other Honduran curly hair, purchased on February 23, 2012, appears to be distinctly male. Hmm…
This young female’s rapid growth and changes in physical appearance are readily seen in the January, 2012 and February, 2012 pictures below.