The U.K.'s Bristol Zoo is celebrating the hatching of over 140 Antilles Pink-toed Bird-eating Tarantulas. At four weeks old, the spiderlings are now little more than the size of a 5p coin with a striking metallic steel blue-black colouring. Zoo guests can see the new arrivals in the window of the tropical breeding room in the Zoo’s Bug World.
Mark Bushell, assistant curator of invertebrates at Bristol Zoo, said: “This species is one of the most beautiful types of tarantula around. When the spiderlings first hatch, they are tiny and translucent but they gradually develop, moult and turn into little blue fluffy tarantulas and are very eye-catching”.
He added: “Breeding these spiders is a real achievement. It has been a fantastic experience for our team of invertebrate keepers and means now have the tools to successfully breed more species of arachnid in future, including some of the more endangered species.”
The Antilles pink-toed tarantula is one of the most popular tree spiders. It comes from Martinique, off the coast of South America, and is highly sought after because of its attractive adult coloration, along with a fairly docile temperament.
As young Antilles spiders mature, their blue colouring is replaced by its adult colours - a metallic green carapace and an abdomen covered in red hairs. Its long furry legs become swathed in reds, pinks, and browns. These tree spiders are very quick and agile.