Brachypelma klaasi (Schmidt & Krause, 1994), also known as “Mexican pink beauty”, is a stunning and rather rare Brachypelma sp. from Mexico. Although you might think different, the bright coloration on patella, tibia and metatarsi provides perfect camouflage in their natural habitat. Don’t confuse the spider with Brachypelma boehmei, as she mainly differs from the species in the dark coloration of the carapace and the pink hue on the legs. Due to slow growth, habitat degration and illegal smuggle, Brachypelma klaasi is considered to be one of the most endangered species from the Brachypelma-genus. An estimated 0,1% Brachypelma klaasi makes it in the wild to adulthood (source). In order to save the species, please don’t buy wild caught Brachypelma klaasi, but get them from successful breeders.
I. SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Scientific name: Brachypelma klaasi.
Common name: Mexican pink beauty.
Previous name: Brachypelmides klaasi (Schmidt & Krause, 1994).
Type: Terrestrial bird spider. Semi-burrower.
Category: New world tarantula.
Urticating setae: Yes, type I and III (abdomen).
Venom: Probably mild. No valuable scientific research has been done yet.
Body length: ≤ 5/7cm. is sexually dimorphic, with females being larger and heavier than males.
Span width: ≤ 14/17cm.
Behavior: Brachypelma spp., in general, are considered to be docile, but Brachypelma klaasi is rather nervous, mostly active in the early morning and early evening. Persistent provocation, however, can (and probably will) result in use of urticating setae. In order to detect their prey easily, they’ll create an almost invisible and tangled web on the surface at the entrance of their burrow. Nevertheless they’ll go actively on a hunt in the surrounding vegetation as well. Remarkably the spider creates a burrow with two chambers in the wild. The first chamber is built on surface level, connected to a second chamber at app. 15cm underneath the surface. This second chamber is mainly used to rest and eat. The Brachypelma-genus possesses beautiful colors, not hiding them at all. Brachypelma klaasi is a perfect display species.
Growth rate: Slow.
Life expectancy: Females become up to 25-30 years old. Males are given a shorter lifetime of 4-5 years. Exceptions get 10 years old, which is very old for a male tarantula. Nevertheless most males die within 2 years after making their spermaweb.
Accessibility (1/beginner, 10/expert): 4.
II. INFORMATION FOR KEEPERS
>>> First aid
Brachypelma klaasi is native to the western slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental and some areas on the western limits of the Transverse Volcanic Belt in Jalisco and Nayarit states in Mexico. The spider lives in hot and humid deciduous forests between 300-1,400m above sea level. The soil is sandy and neutral. Annual rainfall mainly occurs between June and December, with temperatures up to 32°C. Temperatures drop during the dry periods, but with an avarage around 29°C it’s still a hot place to live in. Please be informed of the fact the spider will protect itself against the sun underneath tree trunks, branches, leaves, abandoned burrows and rocks. Do not overheat the terrarium.
Temperature: 25-29°C (day), 20-22°C (night).
Humidity: 55-65% (november-june), 70-80% (july-october).
Adult: LxBxH: 40x30x30. Min. surface 3x span width.
Smaller than adult: Min. 3x span width in surface.
Adult: 1x span width. In the wild Brachypelma klaasi creates a typical two-chamber burrow. Sometimes they don’t do that in captivity.
Smaller than adult: 1x span width.
* Keep the substrate rather dry.
* Do not give more than 20 cm of free space between ceiling and substrate.
Wet season: July, august, september, october.
Dry season: January, february, march, april, may, june, november, december.
Warmest month: June. Temperatures in general are high.
Coldest month: January.
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
Caution: Because of the fact species from the Brachypelma-genus can be very similar, it’s hard to distinguish one from another. However people breed species with good intentions, different species have been mated plenty of times being convinced of the fact they were the same. Thoroughbred species from the Brachypelma-genus are available in the hobby, but make sure your source is valuable.
With a little experience, breeding a Brachypelma klaasi is not that difficult. The females are exacting, as you’ll need to simulate both winter (6-8 weeks (no food)) and spring (3-4 months (lots of food)). Let the terrarium dry out, but keep substrate slightly moist, because the female doesn’t like a humid environment close to her posterity.
• 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.
• Plan mating in autumn. Cannibalism may occur. Arm yourself with long greased tweesers.
• Simulate a winter from 6-8 weeks (10-15°C), 2 months after mating. Don’t feed or bother the spiders during this period.
• Systematically increase temperatures (25-29°C) and moisten substrate (70-75%) once after winter. Make sure there are no puddles inside the terrarium. Keep temperatures perfect, as you triggered the female to start making her cocoon.
• Brachypelma klaasi makes a cocoon containing 400-800 eggs in her burrow immediately before the first rains of the season (april-may). After 2 or 3 months guarding the cocoon the spiderlings emerge in june-july. These spiderlings will stay up to 3 weeks in the burrow before dispersing in july-august. Deprive the cocoon, when desired, 7 weeks after you’ve seen her protecting the cocoon. Store the eggs at a humidity of 65-70% and a temperature of 26-29°C.
Subdividing the Brachypelma-genus
Red hairs on the legs
• West-Mexico, along the Pacific Coast, and Sierra-Madre.
• Natural and captive bred hybrids are known. Inform yourself in order to make sure you’re breeding the same species.
Red hairs on the abdomen
• Widespread over Central-America.
• Thoroughbred species can be hard to find in the hobby. Besides the true Brachypelma vagans, for example, you’ll often see them show up as “Brachypelma vagans hobby form”, being a hybrid of a female Brachypelma vagans and another male from the Brachypelma-genus (probably Brachypelma schroederi or Brachypelma albopilosum). Please leave the breeding to the professionals.
IV. DID YOU KNOW…
• Brachypelma klaasi is named after Peter Klaas? He collected the female for the first time.
• Mature males Brachypelma klaasi leave silk in front of the female’s burrow in order to make it more difficult for other males to locate the female?
• Your success breeding bird spiders living in a rather dry environment always depend the way you simulate seasons?
• Brachypelmides klaasi differs from all the species of the Brachypelma genus by its sharply pointed embolus, its bipartite spermathecae and its fine bearing of plumose setae on femur IV. It is the first representative of a new genus.
• Brachypelma was removed from the synonymy of Euathlus by Schmidt and was considered a senior synonym of Brachypelmides by Schmidt & Krause. Schmidt did not accept that synonymy, but failed to present evidence that the species he would place in Brachypelmides represent the sister group of the remaining species of Brachypelma (or of some other group entirely) (source).
• Brachypelma klaasi on Animal Diversity Web.
• Photography: Andreas Beier (facebookpage)