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Subfamily Stromatopelminae (Schmidt, 1993)


Subfamily Stromatopelminae (Schmidt, 1993)

Status of subfamily. The African fauna of tarantulas is represented by 28 genera grouped in 5 subfamilies (Smith, 1990; Schmidt, 1993, 1994, 1999; Gallon, 2001, 2002, 2004).

From these 28 genera only three are known to lead arboreal lifestyle. In 1993 two genera Heteroscodra and Stromatopelma have been placed by Schmidt from subfamily Eumenophorinae in their own subfamily Stromatopelminae (also supported by R. Gallon, 2004; contra R. Raven, 1985 and Smith, 1990) on the base of combination of the following features (the characteristic of subfamily):

presence of retrolateral scopulation of palpal femora; fovea deep and ovoid, sub-circular and pit-like; characteristic black figure on the inferior surface of tibia, metatarsus and tarsus of legs, reduced number of labial cuspules, and also the absence of tibial spurs in males.

Also representatives of subfamily are characterized by a feature of reproductive behavior: female priduce fixed eggsac which they incorporate into their retreat (not mobile). Such feature known only amongst Citharischius Pocock, 1900 and Thrigmopoeus Pocock, 1899.

In 2004 Richard Gallon was described the new genus and species from Tanzania of subfamily which now is synonymised.

Now the subfamily Stromatopelminae consists of 3 genera: 1. Heteroscodra Pocock, 1899; 2. Stromatopelma Karsch, 1881; 3. Encyocratella Strand, 1907.

This is a middle sized tarantulas reaching to 14 cm in leg span. They rather aggressive and prompt. Bite of this tarantulas considering one of the most dangerous amongst theraphosids.

Keeping conditions. All representatives of subfamily Stromatopelminae can be kept in similar conditions (except Encyocratella, which is an mountain forest habitat spider) in arboreal type vertical terrariums. They are secretive tarantulas, show activity mostly at night time and require granting a vertical pieces of a bark or other such materials for constructing a retreat. Extensively webbing the retreat and surrounding areas in terrarium.

Distribution. All species of subfamily Stromatopelminae are found in sub-Saharan Western and Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Congo).





Female spermathecae is presented. Scopula of tarsus IV is proximally divided by a band of stiffened setae. Legs hairy and definite scopulated. There is a large, single, dorsal black markings on tarsi, metetarsi and tibia of legs



Tibia of leg IV thickened. There are laterally-opposing femoral scopulae on the palp and leg I



Tibia of leg IV unthickened. There are no laterally-opposing femoral scopulae on the palp and leg I presented



Female spermathecae is absent. There is no proximal division of the scopula on leg IV. Large, single, dorsal black markings on tarsi, metetarsi and tibia of legs is absent. Leg pilosity and scopulation reduced



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Encyocratella Heteroscodra Stromatopelma