Brachypelma auratum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brachypelma auratum , known as "fire knees" , is a migalomorphic spider pertaining to to the Theraphosidae family; is endemic to the states of Guerrero and Michoacán, in Mexico. It is similar in appearance to Brachypelma smithi, although a little darker and with a slight change in colors, due to their similarity, were not considered as distinct species until 1992.

Brachypelma auratum is a black tarantula all over the body, the prosoma or cephalothorax has a beige color on the edges extending a little towards the center, the opistosoma or abdomen is completely black and full of dark reddish stinging hairs, its legs are black with a beige ring at the end of each segment (tarsus, metatarsal, tibia, patella and femur), the tibia has a red-orange color in what it simulates be a kind of flame, hence its common name. Its ventral region is totally black and shiny.

Adult females measure up to 15 cm. Males are usually a little smaller measuring 12 to 14 cm, although there are some specimens that even become larger than many females and a similar complex.

It is quiet although a little nervous to get rid of stinging hairs easily, if you are annoyed she is elusive and very rarely will come to bite.

This is a species that is characterized by being one of the longest, females arrive to live from 12 to 15 years in wildlife and up to 25 in captivity, males usually live only a little longer after reaching sexual maturity, from 4 to 6 years old.

It is found in warm and humid temperate regions with mixed deciduous forest vegetation and low deciduous forest. This species is exclusively terrestrial, dwells in burrows and prefers principally soils of clay type where to excavate its tunnels under rocks, trunks, cracks and due to their proximity with several urban centers, under the walls of the houses. Some specimens come to occupy the surrounding areas of fields or grasslands, because due to the destruction and fragmentation of their habitat have been forced to adapt to these sites where they come to find the prey they feed.

In their natural habitat they feed mainly on insects, arriving at the end of the day, also to hunt small lizards. In captivity it is very common that their diet is based on crickets, tenebrios and zhophobas, Madagascar cockroaches and in some cases newborn mice (pinkies). As with all tarantulas, having a system of hydraulic locomotion, water is of vital importance for B. auratum .

Reproduction There are usually no problems, the female usually accepts the male well and the intercourse lasts between 2 and 3 minutes. After 2 or 3 months he will make the sack from which about 200 spiders will hatch. The female at the breeding season places more silk at the entrance to the burrow.

Brachypelma auratum is a very popular species as a pet, partly because it is very docile and because of its longevity. Although, due to poaching and illegal trafficking, its population has been considerably reduced.

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