Chilobrachys fimbriatus Pocock, 1899, also known as “Indian violet (earth tiger)”, is a wonderful bird spider due to its coloration, pattern and webbing from India. She’s considered to be the most beautiful of the Chilobrachys-genus. For this reason the species has been smuggled a lot, mainly to Europe and America. In order to save the species, please don’t buy wild caught Chilobrachys fimbriatus, but get them from successful breeders.
I. SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Scientific name: Chilobrachys fimbriatus.
Subfamily: Selenocosmiinae – Chilobrachini
Common name: Indian violet (earth tiger).
Previous name: Ischnocolus decoratus Tikader, 1977.
Type: Burrowing bird spider.
Category: Old world tarantula.
Urticating setae: No.
Venom: Depending the location of the bite and the amount of venom released, this might be a painful experience. However, no valuable scientific research has been done yet.
Body length: ≤ 6-7cm.
Span width: ≤ 15cm.
Behavior: Nervous and defensive. The spider will try to flee at first. Persistent provocation can result in a bite. The Chilobrachys-genus is known to create beautiful webs and a tunnelsystem below the surface. At broad daylight she’ll stay deep inside her burrow, waiting for an unsuspecting prey at the entrance of her burrow at night. When older, you’ll see them more out in the open.
Growth rate: Fast.
Life expectancy: Females become up to 20-25 years old. Males are given a shorter lifetime up to 5 years, which is rather old for a male bird spider.
Accessibility (1/beginner, 10/expert): 5.
II. INFORMATION FOR KEEPERS
>>> First aid
Chilobrachys fimbriatus lives in tropical area with a monsoon period. It’s rather dry throughout the year with fairly constant humidity and temperature. In June, July and August precipitation can last for hours, even days, introduced by unpleasant high humidity levels a few months before. Temperatures often reach 30°C. Please be informed of the fact the spider will protect itself against the sun making a burrow deep in the ground. Do not overheat the terrarium.
Temperature: 26-28°C (day), 22-25°C (night).
Humidity: A fairly constant 70%.
Adult: LxBxH: 25x25x50. Min. 3x span width in height.
Smaller than adult: Min. 3x span width in height.
* Provide more surface for (sub-)adult Chilobrachys fimbriatus.
Adult: Min. 2x span width.
Smaller than adult: Min. 2,5x span width.
* A few months before monsoon humidity reaches rather unpleasant levels. Spray the terrarium daily for a few weeks, without leaving the substrate drenched.
* During rainy season (3-4 months) the spider lives in wet area. Note that cages with high humidity levels are very sensitive for mites and other parasites. Please take your precautions.
Wet season: June, July, August, September, October.
Dry season: January, February, March, April, December.
Warmest month: May.
Coldest month: January, December.
For more information about the local climate: Click here.
* You might like to consider an adjustment of these data with your local climate. Do not exceed minima or maxima and, if necessary, organize the year making your bird spider experience different seasons. This is very important form the moment you’d like to start breeding.
III. INFORMATION FOR BREEDERS
Pairings with the Chilobrachys-genus don’t always run smoothly. In his quest for posterity, the male will show his presence relatively quick, luring the female out of her burrow. Leaving her castle she’ll probably react very aggressive/defensive towards the male, either looking for a next meal or a quick copulation. Nevertheless experienced breeders are able to make their females create a cocoon once a year (M. Tempelman, 2015).
• Only start breeding 4-6 weeks (or later) after the spider molted. If the female molts between pairing and cocoon, the eggs will remain unfertilized.
• Make sure the female is well-fed (not obese) before you introduce the male.
• Introduce both male and female to each other by placing both terraria next to each other a few days before mating. It is possible you notice interactions.
• Plan the pairing at the end of wet season and let the cage dry out for 3 months, while temperatures drop to 22/24°C. Systematically raise up temperature and humidity. This will trigger the female to start making the cocoon.
• Arm yourself with long greased tweezers. Seperate male and female immediately after mating.
• 4 months after mating (a few weeks after introducing spring), the female will start making her cocoon. Deprive the cocoon, when desired, 4 weeks later. Store the eggs in the incubator at 26-29°C and a humidity of 75-90%. Expect 150-250 spiderlings to come out.
IV. DID YOU KNOW…
• Chilobrachys fimbriatus shares its habitat with Thrigmopoeus truculentus?
• Not all species of the Chilobrachys-genus are burrowing bird spiders? Chilobrachys huahini, for example, has been seen having an arboreal lifestyle.
• Burrowing species from the Chilobrachys-genus possess a relatively long carapace and abdomen?
• Photography: Tobias Brucki (facebookpage)