growing popularity of arachnoculture in the
1990's, the last 2 years has seen a dramatic
increase in new species arriving from around the
World into our hobby and into our collections.
The biggest growing sector in our
hobby is the continuous arrival of large
terrestrials from South America. Such genera as
Brazilopelma, Vitalius, Acanthoscurria,
Lasiodorides, and Pamphobeteus have many species
that only a short time ago was mostly unavailable
to the majority of hobbyists here in the States
One such fascinating species to
reach the hobby in 1997 was Lasiodorides
polycuspulatus. Described by Schmidt &
Bischoff in 1997 from the drier-forested regions
of Peru, this beautiful tarantula was mostly
over-looked by many hobbyists and only in the
past several months is gaining some popularity in
Unlike their more-robust and
larger cousin, Lasiodorides striatus (Schmidt
& Antonelli, 1996), L. polycuspulatus have a
temperament more akin to species such as
Grammostola pulchra and Brachypelma smithi. They
are the "gentle-giants" of Genus
Actually, the term
"giant" is misleading as the majority
of specimens seldom attain leg spans greater than
12.5cm. The rare specimen may attain leg spans
very near the 15cm mark. And, they are not nearly
as robust as their cousin L. striatus. They are
still a wonderful addition to any arachnocultural
collection and are a great contrast to the great
majority of darker-colored tarantulas.
Another great advantage of
maintaining L. polycuspulatus in captivity is the
ease of maintenance and undemanding demeanor.
These tarantulas can be maintained easily in 5 to
10-gallon (18.5 to 37 L) plastic or glass vivaria
filled half way (6" to 8"/15cm to 20cm)
with dry, premium quality potting soil or top
soil with a simple shelter and medium water dish.
For shelter for all my
terrestrials, I prefer using the common clay,
flowerpots sold at gardening shops everywhere.
For L. polycuspulatus, I use the 6" (15cm)
diameter pots for average-sized specimens and the
8" (20cm) size for unusually large
individuals. I then, bury each pot midway into
the substrate and pile substrate at the entrance
until there is only a 2" (5cm) opening into
the pot. This affords the tarantula additional
seclusion within its retreat. I then cover the
pot and the area around the pot with sheet moss
to present a more naturalistic setting.
Because they are maintained in a
drier environment than their cousin, L. striatus,
I include a 4" (10cm) diameter x 2"
(5cm) water dish kept filled with distilled water
at all times to complete the set up. I also 1x
per week, lightly mist inside their shelter as
well to afford them an area with a slightly
elevated humidity. Every 14 days, I lightly mist
the vivarium with distilled water as well.
I maintain my specimens at a
temperature range of 68 (20C) to 75 (23.9C)
degrees f. during the day with a 2 to 5 degree
drop at night.
Humidity range is always kept between 65% to 70%.
Diet includes 2
"pinkie" mice per week and every 2
weeks, each is treated with an anole (Anolis
carolinensis). Although these tarantulas will
readily accept crickets (Acheta domestica and
Gryllus sp.), I prefer feeding mine larger prey
but will several times a month, toss in a few
crickets to vary their diets somewhat. This
species readily accepts all prey and presents no
problem in feeding.
As stated above, any hobbyist
looking to maintain a large, easy to maintain
tarantula that is hardy, easy and safe to handle
and offers beautiful coloration as well, will
find that this "gentle-giant" from Peru
fills this bill perfectly for all hobbyists
regardless of keeping experience.
But, most of all enjoy your
specimens and your keeping experiences because,
if it becomes work, it's just a job!