Haploclastus nilgirinus

0.1 Haploclastus nilgirinus

Haploclastus nilgirinus Pocock, 1899, also known as the “Nilgiri dark mustard”, is a very stunning bird spider due to its coloration from the Nilgiri hills in Mahon-Daly, India. The name “nilgirinus” is reffering to the Nilgiri hills, as it does for other spiders as Zelotes nilgirinusSphingius nilgiriensisPhintella nilgiricaHeteropoda nilgirina as well. The genus, as part of the subfamily of the Thrigmopoeinae, is endemic to India and was established by the description of Haploclastus cervinus by Simon in 1892. Raven (1985) synonymised the genus Phlogiodes Pocock, 1899 with Haploclastus based on the presence and the arrangement of stridulatory setae. With the inclusion of four species of Phlogiodes, the genus Haploclastus comprises eight species which are restricted to India (source). It is speculated to unify Thrigmopoeinae under the genus ThrigmopoeusHaploclastus nilgirinus is differing from Haploclastus cervinus, at least according to the description, in being much larger and having legs IV shorter than legs I and II. Little is known about the genus, for which systematization demands specification. Thrigmopoeinae are widely distributed in mainly tropical areas throughout South- and West-India, although a species in particular is often restricted to small patches of the forests.


Scientific name: Haploclastus nilgirinus.

Subfamily: Thrigmopoeinae.

Common name: Nilgiri dark mustard.

Previous name: /

World spider catalog

Type: Semi-arboreal bird spider. Mainly at younger ages they were found burrowing as well.

Category: Old world tarantula.

Urticating setae: No.

Venom: Probably strong. 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.

Origin: Nilgiri hills from the part of Western Ghats in Mahon-Daly, Savarimullay in VandiperiyarTravancoreKeralaIndia. Type female is from the Nilgiri hills.

Body length: ≤ 4-5cm.

Span width: ≤ 10-11cm.

Growth rate: Fast.

Life expectancy: No valuable source found.

Behavior: The spider will try to flee at first. Persistent provocation can result in a bite. Spiderlings were often seen burrowing, whereas older species live a semi-arboreal life. The spiders are quite shy and nervous, only showing themselves at night.

Sexual dimorphism: Yes. Females are heavier than males. Males have about the same leg span and colors are not as vibrant as in females.

Accessibility (1/beginner, 10/expert): 8.


>>> First aid

Haploclastus nilgirinus lives in tropical warm and humid area. Temperatures almost daily reach levels up to 30°C with significant humidity levels from april until november. Rainfall and temperature ranges vary significantly between the eastern and western extremes. The Eastern Ghats receives 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. To escape the heat, the spider will burrow itself and/or create a decent semi-arboreal hide. Do not overheat your terrarium. (photo habitat Haploclastus spp.)

Environmental conditions

Temperature: 24-27°C (day), 21-23°C (night).

Humidity: Dec-mar: 65-75%. Apr-nov: 80-85%.


Adult: LxWxH: 30x20x20. 3x span width in height.

Smaller than adult: 3x span width in height.

* Provide a burrowing and arboreal set-up.


Adult: 1x span width.

Smaller than adult: Min. 1-3x span width. At least 10cm.

* Keep substrate rather moist.

Haploclastus nilgirinus burrows often, especially at younger ages. Please provide her this opportunity.

* During 7-8 months the spider lives in very humid area. Note that cages with high humidity levels are very sensitive for mites and other parasites. Please take your precautions.


Wet season: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November. Average rainfall around 1 out of every 2 days between april and november.

Dry season: February, March.

Warmest month: May.

Coldest month: July, still reaching maxima above 30°C.

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.


Info coming soon.

• 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.

• Haploclastus spp. create a hammock-like eggsac.

Mature male

Tibial apophyses: Yes.

1.0 Haploclastus nilgirinus


• Legs IV of Haploclastus nilgirinus are shorter than legs I and II?

• Stridulating bristles on maxilla are irregularly scattered on Haploclastus spp. whereas stridulating bristles on maxilla are arranged in a definite curved series on Thrigmopoeus spp.?

• The genus Haploclatsus is poorly examined?

• The carapace on Haploclastus nilgirinus is about 1/4 longer than wide, quite high and convex?


• Histoire naturelle des araignées par Eugène Simon ancien président des sociétés entomologique et zoologique de France.

• Taxonomic change of two species in the genus Haploclastus Simon, 1892 (Araneae, Theraphosidae).

• Arthropods and their conservation in India.

• Common names of South Asian theraphosid spiders.

• About: Spiders in the Western Ghats, India.


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

• Photography: Yvonne Kindl (flickr), Craig Mackay (flickr)