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 Post subject: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 4:59 pm 
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In the hobby there are several Genera of tarantulas that we call "arboreals" because they are found in their natural habitats in trees, but those habitats vary widely.

Aviculara, I have learned, make tube webs- essentially, aerial "burrows".

My Poeciltheria I knew was different than an Aviculara, and so I set her up with a habitat I believe to be suitable, and she seems to be quite comfortable in it.

I set up my Tapinauchenius similarly to my Poeciltheria, but she behaved very differently, so I asked Eric Reynolds, who has studied this species in the wild, the true nature of its natural habitat- and he not only explained it well, he provded pictures!
Had I known, I might have set up her habitat in my home much differently- though she has adapted nicely.


I am going to be rehousing Psalmopeous soon, and I am interested to know where exactly in trees they usually make their homes, and how they usually construct their webs, so that I can give them the optimum conditions.

Also, if anyone feels that they have made superior housing for Psalmopeous, I would be interested in pictures of those!


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals?
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Okay, its been a busy weekend. Anyone have any information to share on Psalmopeous?

I'd really love anything, if not field reports, then personal experience on what they do at home. I feel I dont have mine set up right.


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 2:19 pm 
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I don't have an answer for you. I was hoping someone else would. I do know that my Psalmopeous has a tube web or "aerial burrow" much like my Avicularia does.


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 4:07 pm 
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I don't have any first hand field accounts, but in one of Sam Marshall's books he described finding Psalmopeous retreats built on an embankment along a road, not in a tree at all. Elevation seems to be important, but the tree itself is optional!

I used to have several P. cambridgei and they seemed fond of pulling up a lot of substrate to use in their tube webs. Overall, in captivity I'd say their habits were more Pecilotheria-like than Avicularia-like. I know some regard substrate as being optional for Avicularia, but I don't think I'd try it with Psalmopeous.

Wade


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 5:42 pm 
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Hi Celeste,

Somewhere, but can't remember where, I read that they live in ground burrows or under bits of wood or at base of stuff like buildings or rock work and extend the "burrow" above ground in form of tube and lurk there for prey. Accurate or not, I don't know.

I can only share how mine behave. I probably got a dozen counting cambridgei and irminia. Both species are kept in tall pasta containers with about 3-4 " ground coconut fiber. As slings they burrowed in substrate and as developed they built tubes up from the burrow with lots of substrate tacked to the silk. They tend to stay down in the "burrow" unless hungry and then usually find them sitting some where in the upper story, presumably waiting for prey.

From what I observe, I don't think they would do well with out some substrate. I think silk vines or the likes are not necessary. They seem to prefer to attach the tube to side of container rather than things in the container. Don't seem to sit on or under leaves etc as the Avics may do.

I also keep mine lot lower humidity than Avics and seem to do fine.
Hope this helps some.



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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 9:20 pm 
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I have quite a few of most of the Psalmo's (I lack only reduncus) and mine love to incorporate substrate and bits of the moss I provide into tube burrows attached to whatever hide I provide. If no hide is provided, they make their own out of whatever is available and attach it to the side of the container. Unlike Avicularia, which tend to make their tube retreats as high in the container as possible, my Psalmo's tend to make theirs very close to "ground" level. Their retreats are an extension of the ground terrain. Those who have been given cork bark tubes have fashoned their homes at ground level inside the tube. I have both cambridgei and irminia instars still living at home and they have chosen for the most part to live in webbing near the ground as well and some of them have even made web-reinforced burrows in the soil. Di



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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 1:37 am 
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Thats so very helpful!

I didnt know which way they would end up- the Poecie stayed rather terrestrial-burrowing until she got some size on her, now she likes the cork bark on the side and the vines to attach webbing to. The Tapi made a nice corner web with a basement under the substrate.

The irminia is still young yet but is doing what ya'll said- but the pulcher is about 3 inches now and has filled up the whole inside of the jar with substrate and webbing attached to all points floor and ceiling, as far as I can tell. Except its gotten damaged quite a bit because I unscrew the top to add crickets.

I'll do the spaghetti jar thing for her then, and put some cork bark on the side.

I'm assuming you give them lots of holes for air flow?

And if anyone comes around with more direct experience I am still interested- I like to learn as much as I can about my charges!


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:11 am 
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Note sure if this will be of interest for you or not, but here are some pictures of P. cambridgei in the wild.

Specimens are most easily located on roadside embarkments and around dilapidated buildings, or other human constructions.

We did find some in trees, under pieces of barks.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:14 am 
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one last one for the specimen that lived in the brick

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:33 am 
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Awesome! Jeez, you can't go wrong when you're offered actual, situational photos of the species in question. We're blessed to have so many dedicated people in this hobby. Thanks for sharing! Di



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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:02 am 
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That is very interesting...though not quite natural habitat. In the roadcut are they actually in crevices amongst the sedimentary rock?

I saw a neat photo on AB of a Psalmo from CR that had made its home between some roots that made up a tree buttress.


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:32 pm 
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Thats Very interesting and most helpful! Thank you so very much, Tarcan and Di!


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:08 pm 
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critterguy wrote:
I saw a neat photo on AB of a Psalmo from CR that had made its home between some roots that made up a tree buttress.


This appears to be common for both Psalmopoeus and Tapinauchenius. The buttress trees make great crevices for these spiders.

One thing to keep in mind, is that it is often very difficult to survey for spiders living up in the trees. It is naturally more likely for people to come across things at eye level, and along areas such as road embankments.

While you can absolutely find members of both of these closely related genera living at or in the ground (they've both been found under rocks and in ground burrows), I don't want people to get the false impression that they don't live arboreal lifestyles in the trees as well. They heavily utilize tree holes.

Eric

PS... overall, the amount of knowledge that is generally available about the way these spiders (and theraphosids in general) live in the wild, is quite minimal. But that does make it exciting to travel and find them :)


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Eric Reynolds wrote:
This appears to be common for both Psalmopoeus and Tapinauchenius.
While you can absolutely find members of both of these closely related genera living at or in the ground (they've both been found under rocks and in ground burrows), I don't want people to get the false impression that they don't live arboreal lifestyles in the trees as well. They heavily utilize tree holes.

Eric


I envision, because of the way I see the Aviculara in captivity, they making a "sock" hanging in a tree or next to a branch. Judging from the behavior of the Poeciltheira, it seems it may often lie flat on a tree trunk, camoflauged by its natural coloring and somewhat protected by some webbing and vines.
-somehow, when one says "Arboreal" one thinks high in the branches- the base and tree trunk habitats are interesting!

My T. plumipes is in a tall square jar and she made a kind of a web that reminds me of "corner spiders" in my house-between the edge of the cork bark I glued to the back wall, and the water dish which is placed high on the wall. she has a basement retreat under the substrate, but hasnt incorporated much substrate into the webs, like the Psalmopeous-and ignores 4/5's of the container I provided:rolleyes: She is small, yet, though, she she has options as she grows.

Any time I have examined a tree I have found spiders- crevices in trees are always seem to be home for a variety of fauna.

My concern is to make my spiders comfortable, and to not make a container in which I must destroy a web to feed it! My interest is to learn everything I can just because I think I ought to.

This next home will take some thought.....

Quote:
PS... overall, the amount of knowledge that is generally available about the way these spiders (and theraphosids in general) live in the wild, is quite minimal. But that does make it exciting to travel and find them :)


Hmmm, I think I need to brush up on tree climbing!

:D
Thanks, Eric!
:cool:


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:03 pm 
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Celeste wrote:
Thats so very helpful!
I'm assuming you give them lots of holes for air flow?


Plenty. I put a screen area near bottom and near top with hot glue.



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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:59 pm 
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Celeste wrote:
I am going to be rehousing Psalmopeous soon, and I am interested to know where exactly in trees they usually make their homes, and how they usually construct their webs, so that I can give them the optimum conditions.


Hi Celeste and all the others interested,

exactly this is what i had in mind when i wrote my e-mail to Stan Schultz:
http://www.ucalgary.ca/~schultz/errata3.html

Quote:
PHOTOS OF TARANTULAS IN THE WILD.
Eddy Hijmensen offers:
"If I had one suggestion for edition 4... I would love to see more "species in the wild" pics. I'd rather see a picture of a species in situ than a spider in a corner of a terrarium. I'm sure there are lots of people who would donate pictures like that! Sure the book is all about spiders in captivity, but if you follow the boards a bit, folks go mad when they read travel reports and such!"


Quote:
Eddy, your point is well taken. But, there are several reasons why we couldn't accomplish that with TKG3, and probably won't be able to do a lot with it in TKG4.

There isn't enough room. Barrons and we had a terrible time trying to fit what photos we did between the covers. Another publisher has built their reputation on the quality of the photos in their books, but at the expense of the information they need to impart. Their philosophy is that it's the photos that sell the book. As a result most of their books are all but worthless. I'd like to think that the TKG Series was being purchased mostly because of the information imparted, and with the bright colors and glitz being of secondary importance.

As explained in the TKG3 webpage, we didn't have time to search the WWW for such photos. We did manage to find an excellent series of photos by Larry "Ancientscout" Loos and relied heavily on them. And, we were particularly excited to find the photo by Tim Burkhardt of B. smithi habitat. But, even then, a large part of the reason that TKG3 was so late getting on the market was that we didn't appreciate how big the project really was and hadn't allowed enough time for completion. Taking time to search for more photos simply wasn't possible.

While we all love to see photos like that, they're actually far and few between. Traveling to a lot of exotic places is beastly expensive, and not a lot of people can afford to do so. Once someone has such photos they're largely unwilling to accept the pittance that we can pay for them. Photos of tarantulas in their native habitat are simply far too expensive to acquire to simply give away, especially for a commercial endeavor such as a book.
Lastly, as you stated, TKG3 is principally a book on caring for tarantulas. Tarantulas in the wild is another book that we'll have to hold off for another day. Who will write The Tarantula Seeker's Guide?


this thread alone shows just how much people share such information and pictures.

oh well, enough talk, here is how i found Psalmopoeus. not in trees but in rocks and burrows in the ground.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 3:25 am 
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jdolb1 wrote:
Plenty. I put a screen area near bottom and near top with hot glue.


Thank you June, I forgot to thank you originally. where do you get the screening?

Eddy-it makes me think, that, someone who had time, and the relationship with book publishers, could talk to people like you and Eric and Cedric and Ollie, who do spend some time in the field and share photos on sites like this one, could put out a book with lots of photos, and some information, with a nice bibliography for those who wanted more information. I know the kind of book Stan mentions-they fill the spider section in the library and on the shelves at nature oriented tourist locations. I am not talking about that, but more like, the spider book that I reviewed earlier this month, that was more like a field guide for common spiders found in Europe and North America.
It had the science explained in laymans terms without being "dumbed down"
and gave a nice reading list for folk who wanted more scientific detail.
And lots of pretty pictures, that would enable me to recognize some species that I have previously only read about-and would not be able to identify from just the general descriptions I have read.

A book with good habitat pictures of tarantulas commonly available in the hobby would be a nice companion to TKG. I cant help but think it would increase our understanding, and an awareness of the bigger picture, that these are not mere curiosities but a vital part of their (our) environment.

It would not have to identify the location exactly (keeping in mind the less scrupulous) Perhaps it could mention the relative danger to the surrounding habitat, or how the tarantulas have adapted to humans dwelling nearby (the one inside the bricks, for instance!) and how the local population views them (dangerous pests, helpful pest control, evil spirits, valuable food supply, a pet trade commodity).

NO, I do not have time and access to a book publisher. :o Like my hero, Leonardo, I have more projects in my head than I can accomplish. Hopefully, I can settle on a few that will actually get done this lifetime.

The first, raising two responsible citizens who might do some good in the world, is nearing the end of the development stage and will soon be taken out of my hands. On to the next one! :p


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 11:13 am 
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Great thread - well done, all!


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 11:33 am 
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http://s97.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=http://vid97.photobucket.com/albums/l213/BaboonSpider/Gabon%202/Theraphosidae/afrique2009073.flv&fs=1&os=1&ap=1


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Habitats of Arboreals
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Celeste wrote:
Thank you June, I forgot to thank you originally. where do you get the screening?


Celeste. I just with fiberglass screen. Cheap. Available in any hardware section. Given time crickets will chew threw fiber glass screen. All my containers are inexpensive plastic pasta or "Pounce" cat food treat containers. The latter are tossed when slings move up so I just touch up the occasional chew hole with dab of hot glue.

Rob uses metal screen that is plastic covered for his classy enclosures.

There is a "cat proof" screen that may be more cricket resistant but have not tested that.

I have gone over to the "more ventilation, worry less about humidity" camp with both avics and psalmopoeus. All are set up with generous ventilation panels above substrate near bottom and at or near top. I live in low humidity climate, so all get very dry between sprays 2-3 times a week. Been keeping both species this way for a year with no losses even of slings, of which I have about 14 right now. The adults get less attention to humidity than slings and, on occasion, I see both species head first in water dishes.:)



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