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Genus Brachypelma Simon, 1891

Genus status. Including genus Euathlus Ausserer, 1875; Brachypelmides Schmidt & Krause, 1994. Brachypelma albiceps had been transfered from Aphonopelma (Locht et al., 2005)

Type species – Brachypelma emilia White, 1856. Type was lost. Eugene Simon, probably, based his genus description on specimens from Paris Museum of natural history, which he consider as «emilia», because of studied specimens had triangle mark on carapace, beinging typical feature noted by White in 1856 (it is necessary to take into account that at the end of years 1800 a principle of fixing of type specimens only began to used).

The difference of genus Brachypelma from other genera of subfamily Theraphosinae is concluded in presence of featherlike hairs on trochanter and lower surface of femur of leg I. Also femur of leg III is only slightly incrassate. Male embolus has denominated coniform, spoonlike form with keeled edge. Female spermathecae fused or herewith has pressing in the middle (B.klaasi, B.albiceps). A bunches of featherlike hairs on femur of leg IV are absent.

It is necessary also to notice that in spite of the fact that femur of leg III slightly incrassate, however herewith not so increased as at representatives of close related genus Megaphobema Pocock, 1901.

This is very popular and widespread in collections of amateurs of the World spiders many from which have in its colouration of red tone in spite of the fact that they are limited in legal sale or trade. Is a single genus of tarantulas listed in CITES, Appendix II, forbiding a trade of wild animales. (In late 2008 Indian representatives of the genus Poecilotheria were included into IUCN Red List).

However due to collectors, for instance B. smithi, is breeded in captivity in greater amounts, though in nature considering as exceedingly rare and endangered as a result of active agricultural activity, exterminate by local inhabitants, burning-out of ground and mastering the places their inhabits (is, alongside with B. emilia, a species, listed in 1996 in Mexican Red Book).

Keeping conditions. All species of genus Brachypelma is enough unpretentious in conditions, as a rule, not aggressive, but the majority of these tarantulas flick hairs from abdomen being disturbing, that mildly reduces their decorative effect.

These average to large in size terrestrial spiders reach 6-8 сm (body length) and 12-17 сm in leg span, due to keeping requirements are conditionally possible to divide into two basic groups:

1- species requiring smaller humidity (60%), which is reasonable to keep on mildly moistened or dry substratum with a large water bowl for drinking (absolute majority of mexican species), and

2- species requiring more increased humidity (about 75-85%). Under keeping this species in captivity (inhabiting the tropical forested areas of American continent) is required, both maintenance of humidity of a substratum, and presence of water bowl as well.

These tarantulas must be kept under the temperature 26-29°С. As a rule, do not need a retreat.

Most species (especially the Mexican ones) grow quite slow and reach maturity at 4-5 years and according some information at 7-10 years (Locht et al., 1999). However a spiders of second group grow quicker than their own xerophilous relatives.

Most species can be recommended to beginners.

Distribution. As a whole the distribution of species of genus Brachypelma is limited by territories of Central America with a localization center in Mexico. Herewith any confirmed data allows to spread an areal of genus to Southamerican countries is absent.

An interesting fact there was connected with finding in 1996 of natural population of Mexican redrump tarantula B. vagans (about 100 specimens of different ages) in citrus avenue in Saint-Lucy county, Fort Pierce, Florida * Discoveries are known and at present time.


Common name



Biology, status

Keeping conditions

 albiceps Pocock, 1903

 Mexican golden redrump tarantula (not official)

 Mexico  (Oaxaca)


Photo Yu&A Labunsky © 2004


  Former Brachypelmides species now has synonymized to the former Aphonopelma albiceps (see Systematic news).

Still better known as B. ruhnaui (Schmidt, 1997) in hobby.

Beautiful species, not often seen in hobby. Together with B. annitha and B. auratum the biggest representatives of the genus

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi

albopilosum Valerio, 1980

Curlyhair tarantula

Cano Rito, Upala, Alajuela province, Costa Rica

Photo Vlad Elbakjan © 2002

Photo S. Kotelkova & A. Ivanov © 2004

Photo A. Labunsky © 2004

  Inhabits humid rain forests. This is, certainly, one of the most wide-spread, unpretentious and popular species at all. Produced in captivity in mass (but also a lot of hybrids), highly productive (400-1600 eggs in cocoon).
  Enough big (7-7.5 сm in body length, 14 cm in leg span), absolutly not aggressive species (named in hobby as "pet rock").
  Known to live in captivity more than 20 years

   Humidity must be provided at 80%, temperature - 26-28°С, water bowl is necessary.
  Not required a big layer of substratum (3-4 cm), which must be constantly humid.

andrewi Schmidt, 1992


Distribution is unknown (probably Mexico)


Supposedly is synonym of Aphonopelma truncata (Adjustment 11.168 to nomenclature of species, enclosed in CITES).

Any keeping data is absent

angustum Valerio, 1980

Costarican redrump tarantula

Mexico; San Pedro de Arenal, Alajuela prov., Costa Rica


Photo Guy Tansley©

Photo Kelly Swift© 2003

  Inhabits humid rain forests. Heavy bodied, robust tarantula reaching 12-13 cm in legspan, not such calm as other related species. Enough difficult in breeding and keeping.
Inhabiting rain-forests of Mexico and Central America. Life expectancy more than 12 years.
This species very close related to B. vagans

   Need 70-80% of humidity, temperature about 26-29°С, not big layer of substratum and also can be provided with a retreat.
This is slow growing species

annitha Tesmoingt, Cleton & Verdez, 1997

Giant orange-knee tarantula (not official)


Photo Vlad Elbakjan © 2002

Photo A. Labunsky © 2004


  Seldom seen in collections but several breedings had happened.
One of the largest species of genus. Also, certainly, one of the the most beautiful tarantula in the world and according the latest data is definately a valid species (Longhorn, in prep.). Some authors in the past consider it only the color form of Mexican red-knee tarantula B. smithi on the base of some speculations, from which it differs in taxonomical characters, as well as coloration and behavior.

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi, with which it can be confused

auratum Schmidt, 1992

Mexican fire-knee tarantula

Guerrero and Michoacan states, Mexico


Photo Yu&A Labunsky © 2004


Photo © Ian Metcalfe

  Also colorful and popular pet-tarantula.
One of the largest species of genus.
Together with that it is the very nervious tarantula

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi

aureoceps Chamberlin, 1917

Florid golden chestnut tarantula

USA (Florida)


  This species was described on single female species and probably the type locality (Tortuga Island, Florida) is specified wrongly. At present time any new information about its habitat and findings are not known.
According some opinions this maybe the same species as B. albiceps

  Any keeping data is absent

baumgarteni Smith, 1993

Mexican orange beauty tarantula

Guerrero and Michoacan states, Mexico


Photo Phil Messenger©

Photo James Clugston©

 Photo Leon Lane© 2004

  Beautifully colored tarantula being a decoration of any collection. Regrettably while it is extremely seldom bred in captivity (only two proven cases are known)Status of persisting taxon definitively is not determined – some authors consider its a hybrid between B. smithi and B. boehmei

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi

boehmei Schmidt & Klaas, 1993

Mexican rustleg tarantula

Guerrero state, Mexico

Photo Vlad Elbakjan © 2002


Photo Ian Metcalfe © 2003

mature male

Photo CHID © 2004

  One of the most beautiful and colorful spider in hobby. The popular species alongside with B. smithi and B. emilia and also not difficult in keeping

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi

embrithes Chamberlin & Ivie, 1936




  Information about biology not known

  Any keeping data is absent

emilia White, 1856

Mexican redleg tarantula


Photo S. Kotelkova & A. Ivanov © 2004



Photo James Clugston © 2004

  Alongside with B. smithi and B. boehmei are very popular. Not aggressive and calm spider.
One of the most long-lived tarantulas in the World. Separate specimens presumably living 30 years are known.
Slightly more nervious than B. smithi. Reaches 13 cm in legspan

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi, However humidity level should be a little bit lower

epicureanum Chamberlin, 1925

Yucatan rustrump tarantula

Mexico (Yucatan)

Brachypelma sp. epicureanum, possibly wrong identified

Photo © M. Bagaturov, 2007

Brachypelma epicureanum adult male, possibly not correctly identified

 Photo © Emmanuel Goyer, 2006

  Very similar to B. vagans in appearance and occures sympathrically, but smaller in size. Inhabiting seasonal and rainforested areas

  Can be kept at the same conditions as B. vagans

fossorium Valerio, 1980

Costarican rustbrown tarantula

Guanacaste province, Costa Rica

Photo John Hoke©

  Inhabits humid rain forests.
Not big, rare tarantula, reaches 4 сm in body length, 12 сm in leg span

  Any keeping data is absent

hamorii Tesmoingt, Cleton & Verdez, 1997




  Some authors consider it as well as B. annitha, a color form of B. smithi (Adjustment 11.168 to nomenclature of species included in CITES)

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi


Rudloff, 2008




Photo from haarigeachtbeiner.de

Small sized species, described recently from the specimens come in hobby without reviewing the "vagans-group" species complex

Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi 


(Schmidt & Krause, 1994)

Mexican pink tarantula

North of Acapulco, Mexico


Photo Phil Messenger©


Photo Eddy Hijmensen© 2004

  Former Brachypelmides species.
Occupies forested hills along mountains of Sierra Madre del Sur. Has two color forms – more red high-mountainous and more orange colored coastal form.
This calm and cute tarantula still not very common in captivity

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. smithi


(F. O. P.-Cambridge, 1897)

Guatemalan redrump tarantula

Tikan, Petel, Guatemala


  Inhabiting rain forests. Very similar to B. vagans and can be confused with this species as well

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. albopilosum


(F. O. P.-Cambridge, 1897)

Mexican redknee tarantula



Photo CHID©

  Probably the most popular and the first one species of tarantula in the World entering the hobby.
  Also one of the most long living tarantulas – there`re single specimens lived over 30 years known. Large enough, reaching 7.5 cm of length of a body and 14 cm in leg span, simply keeping, not aggressive terrestrial spider. Regullarly bred in captivity. The cocoon contains 200-400 eggs. Young spiders grow on the average rate, becoming mature under the various information by 5-10 years.
  Has several color morphs

  Can be kept under 60-75% of humidity and temperature 26-28°С. Calm species, does not demand a retreat though in a nature lives in deep holes

schroederi Rudloff, 2003




Photo Eddy Hijmensen©

  Discharged and described by Jan-Peter Rudloff from specimens misidentified as Brachypelma vagans from Mexico long time kept in collections. Named after Dr. Schroeder

  Keeping conditions of this species the same as B. vagans

vagans (Ausserer , 1875)

Mexican redrump tarantula

Mexico, Central America, Belize


Photo M.Bagaturov © 2003

Photo Vlad Elbakjan © 2002

Photo A. Labunsky © 2004

Photo Martin Stone ©

  ccupies the diversified biotopes: savannahs, lowlands (Yucatan), rainforests. Reaches to 16 сm in leg span. Lives more than 15 years.
  As B. albopilosum regullarly breeds since its unpretentiousness and simplicity in keeping. Female produces several hundreds of eggs.
  More nervious tarantula than other species of the genus.
Has two color morphs mildly differring in colouration and form of spermathecae

  Requires more increased humidity (70-80%) than B. emilia and temperature about 24-28°С

verdezi Schmidt, 2003


Mexico (Guerrero)



Photo Guy Tansley©
© Rick C. West

  Formerly known in hobby as
Brachypelma sp. “pallidum”.

Named after the famous French  arachnologist Jean-Michael Verdez

  Can be kept at the same conditions as B. vagans

*By: G.B. Edwards & K.L. Hibbard. The Mexican Redrump, Brachypelma vagans (Aranea: Theraphosidae), an exotic tarantula established in Florida. Entomology Circular No. 394, May/June 1999

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