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Eucratoscelus pachypus Schmidt&von Wirth, 1990
(Tanzanian Stout-Leg Baboon)
Systematic: Genus Eucratoscelus POCOCK, 1898 - Subfamily Harpactirinae (POCOCK, 1897) – family Theraphosidae THORELL
Synonymy: Harpactira constricta (syn.n.) = Eucratoscelus longiceps (syn.n.) = Eucratoscelus constrictus;
Pterinochilus spinifer (syn.n.) = Eucratoscelus constrictus;
Eucratoscelus tenuitibialis (syn.n.) = Pterinochilus lugardi
Adult size: 2,5-5 cm of BL, 12-13 in LS (males are much smaller)!
Description: Very originally looking African theraphosid spider – its distinctive long brushes of setae and incrassate “bushy” tibia of the rear legs gives it a wonderful feathered appearance which can’t be mixed with any other tarantula around the World fauna.
This small to medium sized tarantula (males around 25mm, females - 50 mm) widely presented in hobby and regularly seen in dealer’s stock, but not be fooled – all these are wild caught specimens. This tarantula is extremely hard to breed – in fact the only one case has been recorded and the appropriate description was published (see: below).
Natural history data.
In nature this “baboon-spider” (as it called together with all other theraphosid spider representatives originated form Africa) inhabits open savannah, grassland and scrubland areas where lives in deep burrows, but indeed a very little known about it natural history and not enough study provided for the better knowledge.
One interesting feature which noticed by many hobbyists used to kept that spiders (never had it in my case of keeping for last 2 years) is connected with its external anatomy. Representatives of the genus Eucratoscelus (the only one another species known for this genus – E. constrictus – see below) has enlargened (thickened) hind legs armored with the hard spins.
Thus interesting display of this species has been noted - being in the retreat it blocks the entrance with its back and hind legs.
The same observation for Eucratoscelus pachypus has been recorded in the wild.
As most African representatives of theraphosids this is not a docile species but not as defensive as its relatives of the genus Pterinochilus and prefer to hide instead of attack the “adversary”.
Another one fascinating feature of this species – the totally different appearance between the males and females, which even can be noticed 1-2 molts before ultimate molt (the last or maturity molt for most male tarantulas). This difference is not only the very distinct size of maturity of males (to half of the females) but also can be seen in less thickened (or un-thickened) legs V (hind legs) as the most notable that large juvenile-subadult males has a distinct longitudinal band-formed stripe (at the same age female doesn’t have thickened legs).
Keeping in captivity and breeding.
Keeping. In captivity this fossorial species must be kept in very dry conditions with the thick layer of substratum given the possibility to excavate a burrow, which it usually lines with the big amount of web.
The water bowl must be provided but it is not necessary if You keep moistening the part of the substrate around its hiding area. But bear in mind that You should maintain very good ventilation for this spider.
Many people were unsuccessful keeping these spiders and claim on regular death of their specimens but if You try to deeply analyze most of such cases You’ll find that these spiders simply were kept too wet.
This is one another excellent example for rare case of tarantula which successful key for the care – absolute dry environment together with the lower temperatures. Another one species which should require very similar conditions is the South American bird-eating spider - Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens, unless this one is tolerant to rather higher temps.
Sometimes these tarantulas do not eager to dig at all and You can help them to settle in a new enclosure just making a hole with Your finger in one of the corners of its terrarium..
Breeding. As it told before the only one case has been described regarding the breeding success with this species. This tarantula has very distinct and unusual mating (courtship) behavior. Here it is as described by Richard Gallon: “As he advanced towards the female he periodically clenched his two front legs whilst they were off the ground. The pair engaged, the male raising the female with his tibial spurs, in typical harpactirine fashion. After the mating was complete the male withdrew from the scene leaving the female in a raised ‘trance-like’ state.”
As provided by R. Gallon the breeding data are the following:
Mating occurred – July 4, 2003
Eggsac made – September 17, 2003;
Nymphs II - November 22, 2003;
Spiderlings emerged - December 28, 2003
Another one species of this genus (type species= i.e. the species on a base of which the genus as a taxon described) - Eucratoscelus constrictus (Gerstäcker, 1873) from Kenya.
It is differs from E. pachypus in very few characters (only the rear legs are thickened; E. pachypus – all the entire legs are robust), so further studies may consider them to be synonymous (?).
Here You’ll find the brief summary of taxonomical characters of Eucratoscelus spp. originally described by R. Gallon and compiled by Timo Raab (Germany) and me (in part).
1. Genus Eucratoscelus in difference to other Harpactirinae genera (in complex):
(Note: some characters maybe found in separate species from other harpactirine genera)
Strongly incrassate Tibia IV (viewed dorsally);
Scopulae on the chelicerae retrolateral present;
Scopulae on the chelicerae prolateral absent;
Typical Harpactirinae abdominal pattern absent/weakly-developed;
Medium-sized Harpactirinae (female: ~40mm, male: ~25mm);
Distal segment of posterior spinneret digitiform;
Tarsal scopulae undivided;
Metatarsal scopulae on leg I, II and III undivided;
Metatarsal scopulae on leg IV bisected longitudinally by band of stiffened setae;
Spermathecae paired, with terminal lobs.
2. Key to the species of Eucratoscelus:
- Only tibia of leg IV incrassate - E. constrictus
- Tibia, metatarsus and tarsus of leg IV incrassate - E. pachypus
- Embolus strongly curved (viewed retrolaterally); carapace lengh/ocular tubercle with ratio c. 6.5 - E. constrictus
- Embolus slightly curved (viewed retrolaterally); carapace length/ocular tubercle with ratio c.5.5 - E. pachypus
1. http://baboonspiders...ratoscelus.html - description, taxo and general info
2. http://home.arcor.de...il/pachypus.htm - care sheet and info
3. http://www.eightlegs...tout/stout.html - care sheet and info
4. http://homepage.ntlw.../E.pachypus.htm - photos
5. http://www.arachnoph...ction=art&id=24 – info and ref with photos
6. http://www.t-o-w.de/html/page15.html - some info with distribution map
7. http://home.mnet-onl...re/eucpachy.htm - some info in German
8. http://www.baboonspi...hp?lang=en&go=2 - photos
1. G. Schmidt, V. von Wirth. Eine neue Vogelspinnenart aus Tansania Eucratoscelus pachypus sp. n. (Araneida: Theraphosidae: Harpactirinae).Arachnologischer anzeiger No, 6:11-14 (1990) – online description: http://tarantula-pro...scelus/pachypus
2. Richard C. Gallon. Revision of the African genera Pterinochilus and Eucratoscelus (Araneae, Theraphosidae, Harpactirinae) with description of two new genera. Bulletin of the British arachnological Society, 12:201-232 (2002) – online: http://raab.member.d...description.pdf
3. GALLON, R.C. 2001. Revision of the Ceratogyrus spp. formerly included in Coelogenium (Araneae: Theraphosidae, Harpactirinae). Mygalomorph 2: 1-20 – online: http://raab.member.d...Coelogenium.pdf
4.Guenter Schmidt, Juergen Gelling. (2000) A rare Eucratoscelus species from East Africa (Araneae: Mygalomorphae, Theraphosidae, Harpactirinae).
5. GALLON, R.C. 2004. Captive breeding Eucratoscelus pachypus. Journal of the British Tarantula Society 19(3): 78-81.
6. VUONG, C.T. 1993. Description et maintenance d' EUCRATOSCELUS pachypus (Schmidt & Von Wirth, 1990). Arachnides 17.