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 Post subject: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:46 am 
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I finally got around to updating the sexing guide i did on another forum so i thought i might as well post it here as well while i was at it. Unfortunately this forum will only allow 4 pics per post so you will have to click on the links for the pics instead.:(

The only real accurate way to sex a tarantula is by examining the epigynal area located between the anterior book lungs of the tarantulas shed skin but to do this you must first know what you are looking for.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/stuff/100_3147.jpg

FEMALE ANATOMY

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/fortisspermathecae.jpg
This is a picture of the female sex organs located between the anterior book lungs (top pair).


The spermathecae. Only present in females these are the sacks where the males sperm is stored and come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the species They can either be a paired structure (as shown in the pic) or a fused structure (usually a singular dome or tombstone shape) and branch off from the uterus externus. Fused spermathecae will start off as a pair and later join together as the spider gets older. The spermathecae is lined with cuticle and is there for shed along with the rest of the old skin. Because of this any sperm that has been stored in the spermathecae will be lost after a moult in effect making the female virginal again. There are how ever two species in which the females do not possess spermathecae and instead store the sperm in pores in the uterus internus , these are Sickius longibulbi and Encyocratella olivacea.

The uterus externus. Only found in females this is a transparent tube of skin that connects to the uterus internus at one end and opens out to the gonoslit at the other end. The uterus externus is lined with cuticle like the spermathecae and is the only part of the uterus shed along with the rest of the old skin. It is the first point where the sperm and the eggs come into contact and is the most important feature in determining the sex of a tarantula from its shed skin.

The bursa copulatrix. This is the lower alcove that is formed below the spermathecae and the uterus externus. It is also only found on females and is believed to be the area where the sperm and the eggs mix before being deposited into the egg sack .

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/femaleorgans.jpg
This drawing shows how all the parts connect with the organs that are not shed during a moult.

A brief description of other features mentioned.

Uterus internus. A short section of tube that connects to the uterus externus at one end and to the oviducts at the other. This along with the oviduct and ovaries is not shed.

Oviduct. Two tubes that lead to the overies.

Ovaries. The female reproductive organs that produce eggs (oocytes)

Slit sensilla. These are internal stress receptors that sense any stresses on the spiders exoskeleton.

Arthordial membrane. These are muscle attachments that define the left and right hand sides of the epigynum.

Gonoslit. This is the opening to the females sexual organs.


http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/100_2417.jpg
Fused spermathecae


http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/100_2427.jpg
another example of paired spermathecae

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/100_2759.jpg
Encyocratella olivacea - note that although there is no spermathecae there is still a uterus externus and bursa copulatrix.

MALE ANATOMY

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/maleaccessoryorgans.jpg

The gonopore. This is the opening in the centre of a males epigastric furrow that leads to the testes. The testes are 2 long coiled tubes that produce sperm and also act as sperm ducts.

Accessory organs. Also known as accessory glands , epigastric organs or epigastric glands. The exact function of these organs is unknown but they are said to produce an adhesive liquid that helps the sperm droplet stick to the sperm web. They can be very prominent in some species such as Brachypelma vagans and are often mistaken for paired spermathecae. These accessory glands are wider at the apex than at the base and usually look tree or mushroom shaped as opposed to spermathecae which are wider at the base than at the apex. Of course there are a few exceptions to the rule such as Poecilotheria species and Aphonopelma chalcodes for example where the male accessory glands are wider at the base than at the apex.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/maleorgans.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/spider%20bits/100_3140.jpg
Close up of gonopore

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c177/jimmyhat1978/closeupcyriospermo.jpg
You can see the male accessory organs marked in green here and the lips of the gonopore circled in red.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c177/jimmyhat1978/looking_at_the_properties_shame_on_you.jpg
Pic of male accessory organs from a Poecilotheria regalis notice they are wider at the base than at the apex.

PREPARING THE SKIN

Unless you have just retrieved the skin from a freshly moulted spider then the skin will be very dry and brittle making any attempt to sex it almost impossible. The most common method to moisten the skin and make it pliable again is to soak it in water with a drop of washing up liquid however i find it is much easier just to give the skin a good spray with a mister for a few seconds.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/stuff/100_3144.jpg

Once the skin is pliable take hold of the abdomen skin where it joins the carapace and gently pull down on it so that the skin unwinds then cut off the excess skin below the posterior book lungs.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/stuff/100_3145.jpg

Next take a needle and run it down the abdomen skin from the pedicel (where the abdomen joins the cephalothorax) to the posterior book lungs and carefully open up the skin.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g78/wraithspirit/stuff/100_3146.jpg

The skin is now ready to be sexed. Some large spiders can be sexed with the naked eye but most will need some kind of magnification. For most adult spiders anything from x2 - x20 will do and this can be achieved by using hand held lenses or jewellers loupes. For sub adults and large juveniles a higher magnification of x20 - x40 is needed and for this you will need a microscope. Finally for sexing spiderlings you will need an even higher magnification of x40 - x80

Hope this is of some help , for more information on sexing then read Sex determination of immature theraphosid spiders from their cast skins by Kathleen and John Hancock or join the BTS and enroll in the tarantula sexing course if available.


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:54 am 
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wow, thanks, this is great info...reading it all piece by piece.


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:29 am 
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Thank you Mascot. Hopefully we can make this a sticky.



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:39 am 
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That was fantastic. I never understood what I was looking at before but now I think I've got it down! I'm going to go test (what I think I know ;) ) on some other threads..


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:35 am 
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That's awesome! Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:44 am 
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Very well put together! I just hope the links last forever!!! THANKS!


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:07 am 
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You rock more then the Hoff.....;)


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:07 am 
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Lets not get too carried away Jenny a little blurb about how to sex a tarantula doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the genius of the Hoff but thanks anyway.:)


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:31 pm 
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I am not good at sexing yet...so I am glad to see more information on it! I tried to use my A. avic molt, and just wound up destroying the molt...:o

Hopefully I will get there...:rolleyes:

I am bookmarking this!


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 Post subject: Sexing
PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Perhaps I can try with my B. Smithi Molt :-S



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 12:46 am 
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Here is the URL to pics of my B. smithi shed. I had trouble posting a photo... :redface:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tstar79/56 ... hotostream

This is my first attempt to sex a tarantula based on a shed...could you help me verify? ;) I think this is a female, but this is only my second spider, so I would like to ask the group. :) Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 1:02 am 
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Sorry I'm failing at posting photos, but I wanted to get this message out today. I've been meaning to do this for a while!!

Here is my G. rosea, Santiago. I believe he is a male...and that he went through his final molt before I even bought him.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tstar79/56 ... hotostream

He has some serious pedipalps...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tstar79/56 ... hotostream

and tibial hooks...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tstar79/56 ... hotostream

Thoughts?? : )


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 4:33 am 
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lagomorphette wrote:
Here is the URL to pics of my B. smithi shed. I had trouble posting a photo... :redface:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tstar79/56 ... hotostream

This is my first attempt to sex a tarantula based on a shed...could you help me verify? ;) I think this is a female, but this is only my second spider, so I would like to ask the group. :) Thanks!


I could not get enough detail when I zoomed into tell. If you wet the exuvium with detergent water, you can get it to open up flat which for me makes it easier to see the detail.



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:16 am 
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Santiago is definitely a mature male. He may live another few years yet. Grammostola males are know for hanging around a long time. Good luck!

You're going to need to do some work for anyone to help with the B. smithi molt. First move it so the carapace part it towards the top. Then mix up a drop of soap with a quarter cup of water or so than place sever drops on the part of the abdomen that is remaining. Then spread the abdomen part out as best you can. We need to see between the first pair of book lungs. Good luck.



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:40 pm 
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Patrick wrote:
Santiago is definitely a mature male. He may live another few years yet.

I hope so. He is my very first T, & I've learned a ton since I brought him home in November. He is extremely tolerant of handling and spends a decent amount of time outside his hide (so, lots of time for me to admire him :) )--I couldn't ask for a better beginner spider. My only concern is that his abdomen seems somewhat small, and he rarely eats (I usually just end up taking the crickets out). I've read that G. roseas can go a long time between feedings, but given his mature male status, I don't suppose that bodes well for him. :|

Patrick wrote:
You're going to need to do some work for anyone to help with the B. smithi molt. First move it so the carapace part it towards the top. Then mix up a drop of soap with a quarter cup of water or so than place sever drops on the part of the abdomen that is remaining. Then spread the abdomen part out as best you can. We need to see between the first pair of book lungs. Good luck.

:redface: Yeah...I found that out AFTER I pulled & picked the molt apart to try taking the photos. Mybad. Thanks to those who responded, though. I'll definitely know what to do the next time around. :lol: This was the first molt I've really tried to sex (I've only had the smithi about a month) because Santiago was past the point of molting when I bought him.

I think I read that the B. smithis are slow growers. True? I've watched mine grow from smaller than a dime to his current size. I work at a Petco (hopefully this forum isn't anti-pet store :confused: ), and a customer special-ordered a smithi & then *disappeared off the face of the earth*, basically--leaving the poor darling unclaimed for about 3 months. I'd seen photos of how amazing the red knees look and heard they were okay for beginners (but they are known for occasionally being hair-throwers, right?). It didn't take long to realized I wanted a 2nd tarantula. :D I was able to buy the little guy/girl for $25 because no one else was interested and the store needed space for a new shipment of crested geckos. :roll:

Well, I guess I'll try again after the next molt. Again, thanks so much for the feedback--I appreciate it.


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 10:58 pm 
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That sounds like good deal on the B. smithi. The forum rules address the full rules re what one can or not say re to LPS. Basically no endorsements or anti endorsements.

If you still have the B. smiti molt, you can go back and re wet and work it more.
It is all a learning process and one gets better with practice. In your case, progress might be slower, unless you get more Ts, given how slowly B, smithi grow. :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Trust me, I would LOVE to get more, and, yes, I've already got a wishlist. : ) Just doing research **on which one to get next**... I posted a new thread with a poll, in fact. I can't remember if you commented there or not. Regardless, if you have any suggestions on a great beginner T, I'm all ears. : )


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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:28 pm 
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lagomorphette wrote:
Trust me, I would LOVE to get more, and, yes, I've already got a wishlist. : ) Just doing research **on which one to get next**... I posted a new thread with a poll, in fact. I can't remember if you commented there or not. Regardless, if you have any suggestions on a great beginner T, I'm all ears. : )


Well I did vote for the G. pulchirpes :lol: I highly recommend getting a sling or a juvie. They grow faster and are fun to watch develop and get more chances to learn how to sex via exuviums which is the only really reliable way for most species. Anette had some Euthalus - blue femurs for sale in the classified as fund raiser for ATS. They are tough, easy to raise, fairly fast to mature so can have exuviums to practice on and see results to maturity in less than 10 years. :roll: They turn out to be pretty and docile adults. Since they were a fund raiser, they were modestly priced. If interested, just PM her. She may have some left.

Avic Avic is another inexpensive arboreal that is easy to raise from infant They do require warmer environment than can get away with Grammostola, Brachys and Aphonopelmas but keeping something in the 70's is pretty easy in most homes/apartments. I live in RV which is very subject to outside temperature variations so I use tiny hermit crab heaters mounted on Plexiglass strips which sit next to containers and they do very well.



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:57 pm 
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Image

And if I followed all the instructions right, Drum role please,.................................... I believe it's a girl.



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 Post subject: Re: Sexing a tarantula
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:55 pm 
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It's a bad quality pic, but I think it's a female.


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