Phrixotrichus scrofa (Molina, 1782), also known as the “Chilean Copper” and the “Chilean violet”, is a neutral but beautiful Chilean semi-dwarfspecies with a rather docile temperament. She’s living across the Argentine border as well, sharing her habitat with Phrixotrichus vulpinus. Due to its rustic looks, docile temperament and easy environmental factors, Phrixotrichus scrofa is one the most perfect bird spider to start your addiction with. After “Aranea” and “Mygale” scrofa, she got categorized as part of the Phrixotrichus-genus by Simon in 1889. Later she swapped names as soon as the wind turned, being categorized as Phrixotrichus and Paraphysa (or Euathlus). Nowadays she officially belongs to the Phrixotrichus-genus, showing up more as Paraphysa scrofa since her last name change by Peters in 2000 (source).
I. SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Scientific name: Phrixotrichus scrofa.
Common name: Chilean copper, Chilean violet.
Previous names: Phrixotrichus roseus Simon, 1889, Paraphysa manicata Simon, 1892, Phrixotrichus chilensis Simon, 1896, Phrixotrichus auratus Pocock/, , Paraphysa scrofa Pérez-Miles et al, 1996.
Type: Terrestrial bird spider. In the wild they’ve been observed burrowing themselves a hole, which is rather the exception in captivity.
Category: New world tarantula.
Urticating setae: Yes (abdomen).
Venom: Probably mild. No valuable scientific research has been done yet.
Body length: ≤ 4-5cm.
Span width: ≤ 11-12cm.
Growth rate: Slow.
Life expectancy: Females can become up to 25 years old. Males are given a shorter lifetime from 4/5 years.
Behavior: Phrixotrichus scrofa is a very docile, active and visible bird spider. When given enough anchor points, they might produce a nice web as well. This, however, is rather the exception than the rule. Remarkable is that Phrixotrichus scrofa will push its cephalothorax against the surface with the abdomen pointing upwards being distrubed, different than the typical threat pose, ready to bomb a nice dose of urticating hairs towards the troublemaker. As docile as she is, you probably won’t see this happening.
Accessibility (1/beginner, 10/expert): 1.
II. INFORMATION FOR KEEPERS
>>> First aid
Phrixotrichus scrofa lives in relatively cold and dry area. Please be informed of the fact the spider will protect itself against the weather underneath tree trunks and abandoned holes of rodents. However they’re being found underneath houses as well, they mainly live in the forest.
Temperature: 20-24°C (day), 16-20°C (night). During winter temperatures may drop from 13°C (day) until 5°C (night).
Adult: LxWxH: 20x30x30. Min. 3x span width in surface.
Smaller than adult: Min. 3x span width in surface.
* Provide plenty of hiding places, varying surfaces and safe height. Phrixotrichus scrofa likes to climb once in a while.
Adult: Min. 0,75x span width.
Smaller than adult: Min. 0,75x span width.
Wet season: May, June, July, August. “Wet” is relative, only raining 7 days a month.
Dry season: January, February, March, April, October, November, December.
Warmest months: January, February, December. “Warm” is relative, reaching maximum 23°C.
Coldest months: May, June, July, August, September.
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
Mating Phrixotrichus scrofa normally runs smoothly.
• 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.
• Organize a calm winter of 2/3 months (10-15°C), before mating.
• Avoid excessive humidity (<70%), especially when the female made a cocoon.
• The female will start making the cocoon 30-40 days after mating. Deprive the cocoon, when desired, 25-30 days later. Store the eggs at a humidity of 65-70% and a temperature of 22-24°C. Expect 110-150 spiderlings to come out.
IV. DID YOU KNOW…
• The genus “Paraphysa” is synonymous with “Euathlus“, where “Phrixotrichus” is a sistergenus (source)?
• Phrixotrichus scrofa is rare in European terraria? The bigger Chilean bird spider Grammostola rosea is rather common.
• Photography: Yvonne Kindl (flickr)