Indian Ornamental Tree Spider
Indian Ornamental Tarantula, Ornamental Tree SpiderFamily: TheraphosidaePoecilotheria regalisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Russ Gurley
Indian Ornamental Tarantulas are one of the most beautiful, fascinating tarantulas in the hobby!
The Indian Ornamental Tree Spider Poecilotheria regalis is a beautiful creature. It is one of the most favored tree spiders, and is one of the staples of the tarantula hobby. The beauty of its striking markings of black, white, and silver, make it one of the most popular species being kept both by beginners and advanced hobbyists.
Indian Ornamental Tarantulas are a somewhat elongated species, with the males being even more slender than the females. They are hardy, and relatively fast growing. Adult females can have a leg span reaching up to 9 inches (22cm), with males averaging about 7inches (18 cm). Females can live up to 8 years. As with all tarantulas, males have a much shorter lifespan, living only a third as long as females.
These beautiful Ornamental Tree Spiders are gray overall, but with a wonderful complex pattern of whites and blacks in stripes and chevrons. Adorn in this glorious and commanding ornamentation, they are also known as the Regal Parachute Spider and the King Parachute Spider.There are bright yellow spots under the first pairs of legs, on both males and females, that flash when this spider raises its legs in a defense posture.
This popular Ornamental Tree Spider should be considered a species that is a display animal. This species is very defensive, and therefore aggressive. It should be housed individually and should not be handled under any circumstances. Theses spiders are very quick and will bite when cornered. A bite can be medically significant for some people.
For more Information on keeping Tarantulas, see:
Keeping Arachnids and Other Arthropods as Pets
Habitat: Distribution/BackgroundThe Indian Ornamental Tree Spider Poecilotheria regalis was described by Pocock in 1899. They originate from India, from Dahanee in the north (Western Ghats) and Cochin in the south. Common names it is known by are Indian Ornamental Tree Spider, Indian Ornamental Tarantula, Ornamental Tree Spider, Indian Ornamental, King Parachute Spider, and Regal Parachute Spider.
Description The Ornamental Tree Spider are a somewhat elongated species. Males average about a 7" (18 cm) leg span with females reaching up to 9" (22cm). They are gray overall with a wonderful, complex pattern of white and black stripes and chevrons. Both males and females boast a warning coloration of bright yellow spots under the first pairs of legs. These spots are flashed when the spider raises its legs in a defense posture.
Mature males are slender and long-legged compared to females. After reaching maturity, a females life span is about 8 years with the male living only about 3
Food and FeedingThough Poecilotheria species seem to prefer flying insects such as moths, they will feed eagerly on crickets, grasshoppers, and large specimens will even feed on an occasional small mouse.
HousingThe Indian Ornamental Tree Spider is an arboreal species. It should be kept in a large, vertically oriented enclosure. A modified aquarium with part screened sides and screened top works best. If the enclosure becomes too dry, the spiders will not do well.
One way to overcome the dilemma of the strange combination of needs - high humidity and high ventilation - is to use a deep (4 to 5") substrate of damp sand and peat moss and provide several live plants within the enclosure. These plants can be placed within the enclosure still in their pots or can be planted in the deep substrate. These live plants will not only provide excellent places for the spiders to establish homes, they will provide areas for breeding and egg-laying.
Add one or two shallow water dishes and mist the entire enclosure once a day to every other day, depending on the conditions of the room in which the enclosure is located. The cage should be allowed to dry out in between mistings.
Temperature and humidity requirements:
This species will do best if you maintain the enclosure at 78° to 82° F with a humidity level of 75 to 85%
Cage CareA good habit to get into is cleaning up any uneaten prey items the day after feeding your blue tarantula as decaying organic matter commonly attracts mites, fungus, mold and other potentially harmful organisms into the enclosure. If your pet has recently molted, remove uneaten prey items immediately. Newly molted tarantulas are vulnerable until their exoskeletons hardens.
Handling This species is very aggressive / defensive and should not be handled under any circumstances. The bite can be medically significant for some people. We suggest using a paint brush or other tool to corral the Ornamental Tree Spider and to move it from enclosure to enclosure for cleaning, maintenance, or for breeding attempts.
Reproduction The Indian Ornamental Tarantula has proven somewhat easy to breed. Mature males are slender and long-legged compared to females. Males have no tibial hooks for mating.
Adult males should be carefully introduced into the female's enclosure after he has produced a sperm web.
The female should be very well-fed before any introductions as Poecilotheria females are notorious for attacking and eating males before any mating can occur. If both male and female are well-fed, success is more likely. The male can be protected with a piece of cardboard or other tool if he is to be used for further breeding attempts.
Once mating occurs, the female should be fed in anticipation of an egg sac. The egg sacs of Ornamental Tree Spiders have tended to be small, in the 40 to 50 range. Spiderlings are hardy and grow quickly when set up properly and can even be raised communally if kept well-fed. Be sure to offer them a large enclosure with multiple retreats and hiding spots.
Diseases: Ailments/TreatmentsTarantulas are generally quite hardy and adaptable if they are provided with the right environment. A few signs that may indicate that your pet is not acting or feeling normal are a loss of appetite, lethargy, looking overly skinny, or pacing the enclosure.
A tarantula on its back is probably not sick. Most tarantula species flip onto their backs during molting. Though this is a very stressful and delicate time for tarantulas, if the humidity and warmth levels are correct, they will molt their exoskeleton, roll over, harden up, and within a week or two be ready for their next meals.
One of the most common reasons for your pet to demonstrate unusual behavior is due to a molting period. As they outgrow their existing skin all tarantulas regularly go through an extensive molt, shedding their entire skin as well as the linings of their mouth, respiratory organs, stomach and sexual organs.
The process starts well before the actual molt. For several weeks prior to shedding they will be growing a new skin under their old one. During this time it is not unusual for a tarantula to get quite lethargic and even stop eating. There may also be lots of web spinning activity as they prepare to molt.
When they begin to molt, they lay on their backs with their legs up in the air looking as if they are dead. Be sure not to disturb your tarantula when you see this. The shedding process goes quickly and smoothly as long the environment has adequate humidity.
Once they have shed, their new skin is pale and very soft. The amount of time it takes for your pet to fully recover and be back to eating well will vary from a day or so up to several weeks depending on its size. Smaller spiders recover much quicker than larger ones.
- Other Problems
Other problems are usually the result of some type of environmental stress. There may be a drop in the temperature of the enclosure, there may be parasites, or the tarantula may just not be comfortable with the depth of its hiding place. These things can be easily adjusted or changed, or you can try moving your pet to a new enclosure.
- Animal-World Resources: Reptiles, Amphibians, and Land Invertebrates
- Russ Gurley, Tarantulas and Scorpions in Captivity, Living Art Pub, Serpent's Tale NHBD , 2005
- Samuel D. Marshall, Tarantulas and Other Arachnids, Barron's Educational Series; 2nd edition 2001
- Russ Gurley, Color Guide to Tarantulas of the World I, Living Art Publishing 1994
- Philippe de Vosjoli, Arachnomannia, General Care and Maintenance of Tarantulas & Scorpion, Advanced Vivarium Systems, 1991
- John G. Browning, Tarantulas. T.F.H Publications, 1989