Poecilotheria regalis

Poecilotheria regalis

Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899, also known as “Indian ornamental”, is a beautiful bird spider due to its coloration, pattern and behavior from Southern India. However she is the most common amongst the “Pokies”, she’s a robust and beautiful display tarantula. Poecilotheria regalis is very similar to the Ceylonese Poecilotheria fasciata, in the coloring of the body and the limbs, but may be at once distinguished as from all the other known species of the genus by the presence of the broad reddish band on the lower side of the abdomen above the gender area. The Poecilotheria-genus is well-equiped with distinctive colors and patterns. Where legpairs 3, 4 and the pedipalps show an alternating black and white pattern, the bottomside of legpairs 1 & 2 will amaze you with its bright black and yellow coloration. Intriguing about the genus is their typical resting pose. With the first two leg pairs forward, the last two leg pairs backward and an angry look, they’re sending a clear message: “Don’t come too close!”


“Biodiversity changes caused by anthropogenic activities through over mining, over grazing, deforestation and forestfires etc. are studied in Yerramalais forest of Eastern Ghats. Other important factors of global change interacting synergistically with climatic factors are also mentioned, human greed is also one major reason for its degradation as they think for today and not for their future. The forest vegetation is declining tremendously for the past 50 decades due to climatic changes, resulting in the disappearance of flora at an alarming rate leading to the loss of biodiversity. Climate change poses major new challenges to biodiversity conservation. Increased population and uncontrolled human activities have misused the natural resources which led to the disturbance in the ecosystem and scarcity of natural resources.” (read more)

Scientific name: Poecilotheria regalis.

Synonym: Poecilotheria gadgili.

Common name: Indian ornamental. 

Previous names: Ornithoctonus gadgili Tikader, 1977.

World spider catalog

Type: Arboreal 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. More info, see V. Literature.

Origin: Nallamalla hillsEastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh and Northern Western Ghats (source), India. Originally located in Arkonam in the north Arcot District of the Madras Presidency.

Body length: ≤ 7-8 cm.

Span width: ≤ 18-19 cm.

Behavior: The Poecilotheria-genus is known to be as beautiful as potentially dangerous. The spider will try to flee at first. Persistent provocation can result in a bite. The bites are very painful and can result in hospitalization. The species will create a assymetric tunnelweb, being mostly visible at night.

Growth rate: Fast.

Life expectancy: Females become up to 11-12 years old. Exceptions become 15 years old. Males are given a shorter lifetime of 3 years.

Accessibility (1/beginner, 10/expert): 10.


>>> First aid

Poecilotheria regalis lives in warm area. Temperatures in Eastern Ghats almost daily reach levels up to 30°C, with heat waves up to 39°C. Please be informed of the fact the spider will protect itself against the burning sun in tree crevices, hollow branches, leaves and buildings. Rainfalls can be short and intense. Very moist substrate from time to time is good for spiders of the Poecilotheria-genus, but make sure no moldproblems occur. Rainfall and temperature ranges vary significantly between the eastern and western extremes. The Eastern Ghats receive less rainfall than the western coast. Rainfall there ranges between 900 and 1,300 millimeters annually. In the hills of Western Ghats temperatures are “cooler”, reaching maxima around 30°C, and the environment is more humid due to rainfalls and the coast nearby. Monsoon in Western Ghats starts in june and ends in september.

Environmental factors

Temperature: 24-27°C (day), 20-24°C (night).

Humidity: From November until May 70-80%. From june until October 85-95%.

* Due to the fact Poecilotheria regalis is widly spread over Northern Western Ghats as well, humidity may rise up to 80% throughout the year, reaching levels up to 95% from june until september. It is clear Poecilotheria regalis is very hardy, preferring a rather warm and humid environment.


Adult: LxWxH: 20x20x50. 3x span width in height.

Smaller than adult: 3x span width in height.


Adult: 1x body length.

Smaller than adult: 1x body length.

* The spider lives in humid area. Note that cages with high humidity levels are very sensitive for mites and other parasites. Please take your precautions.


Eastern Ghats

Wet season: June, July, August, September, October.

Dry season: November, December, January, February, March, April, May.

Warmest month: May.

Coldest months: November, December, January.

For more information about the local climate in Eastern Ghats: Click here.

Western Ghats

Wet season: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

Dry season: January, February, March.

Warmest months: February, March, April, May.

Coldest month: January.

For more information about the local climate in Western Ghats: Click here and/or 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.

How can I distinguish Poecilotheria spp. ventrally?

Click here or on the photo for higher resolution. Click here for a similar picture, with Poecilotheria rajaei.

Poecilotheria spp. ventral

© mygale.de | poeci1.de


Mating the Poecilotheria-genus normally runs smoothly. Male and female are sometimes kept together for several weeks. Cannibalism, however, may occur in these circumstances.

• 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.

• Provide hiding places for the male.

• Plan the pairing at the end of wet season and let the cage dry out for 4/6 weeks, while temperatures drop to 22/23°C. Systematically raise up temperature and humidity. This will trigger the female to start making the cocoon.

• Don’t leave the male with the female if she’s acting agressive towards his presence. Try again a few days later, after you fed the female. After a good reception by the female several hobbyists cover the terrarium with black cloth, not disturbing them anymore for 1 month.

• The female will start making the cocoon 4-6 weeks after mating (sometimes it takes more time). Deprive the cocoon, when desired, 4 weeks later. Store the eggs at a humidity of 80-90% and a temperature of 25-29°C.


• The name “Poecilotheria” is derived from the Greek “poikilos” (spotted) and “therion” (wild beast). You’re being warned (source).

• People talk about “poecies” in the hobby, referring to species from the Poecilotheria-genus?

Poecilotheria gadgili (Tikader/1977) is a synonym for Poecilotheria regalis (source)?


Pharmacological analysis of Poecilotheria spider venoms in mice provides clues for human treatment (2017).

• A verified spider bite and a review of the literature confirm Indian ornamental tree spiders (Poecilotheria species) as underestimated theraphosids of medical importance.

The genus Poecilotheria: Its habbits, history and species.

Study of the distribution of the genus Poecilotheria (Theraphosidae) in Sri Lanka.

Pharmacological characterization of venoms from 3 theraphosid spiders: P. regalis, C. darlingi and B. epicureanum.

Record of P. regalis Pocock, 1899 from Nallamal Hills, Eastern Ghats, Andra Pradhesh.

11 tarantulas in the genus Poecilotheria under the US endangered species act.


• Text: Dennis Van Vlierberghe (facebookgroup and –page)

• Photography: Julian Kamzol (website, flickr)

• Patrick Meyer (website)

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