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What About Us:- The forgotten Tarantulas of the Hobby

by Lucian "Luc" Ross


With a plethora of ever new and wonderful species entering our hobby  from all over the globe, at no time has the hobbyist been in such a lush paradise of tarantula species to chose from for his/her collection.

Brazilopelma, Vitalius, Poecilotheria, Tapinauchenius, and many new species from genera both old and new inundate the dealer's and breeder's lists in the US and Europe.

But, what of those tarantulas that opened the door for all these new and interesting species? Those tarantulas that we all started with back in the infant stages of the hobby:

Grammostola rosea, Brachypelma albopilosum, Phormictopus cancerides, Cyclosternum fasciatum, Avicularia avicularia, Psalmopoeus cambridgei, Pterinochilus murinus, Pterinochilus sp. 'sambara' and one of my favorites, Aphonopelma seemanni.

These were tarantulas that we dreamed of adding to our collections and cherished as we set about designing their vivaria. We proudly displayed them in their new vivaria for family and friends and took such great pride in these magnificent creatures.

Several years ago, my dream was to own what I still consider to be one of the most magnificent tarantulas in the hobby. Big, bold, fearless, and incredibly beautiful in shades of reddish-brown. The beast? Hysterocrates gigas, the 'Cameroon Rust-Red'. In my mind, this magnificent creature represented the epitome of collecting in the hobby and anyone without one just wasn't a true hobbyist! 

To this day, I still have that girl. She is still one of my most magnificent tarantulas and shall always be the highlight of my collection. She, along with countless other 'dime-a-dozen' species that many hobbyists wouldn't even consider placing in their spider rooms next to that choice Hyaterocrates scepticus or Aphonopelma bicoloratum! 

But, because of recent commonality, it seems that these once magnificent tarantulas have been relegated to the status of purely tarantulas for the new comers into the hobby and those that are not considered as dedicated as the purist (specialist)! Poor Heteroscodra maculata. Once considered one of the finest gems in the hobby now simply 'one of THOSE tarantulas'! Did they really lose their beauty and magnificence or did we in our quest for more, bigger, and supposedly better, lose the ability to still marvel at the intricate beauty of an adult H. maculata? Did we forget how delighted we were to possess that 3" Cyclosternum fasciatum that no one else had yet? And, what about that first Aphonopelma seemanni? Big and robust, striking-white leg stripes on black. I stared at mine for hours, everyday when I first got her home. And yes! She still resides in my collection as one of my fondest species. Sure, she may not be as fancy as A. geniculata and she may be a little slow now due to age but, she taught me how to truly marvel at the lives of these splendid creatures. And, most importantly, she was that informative book into the life of a theraphosid that no one has written yet!

As many within the hobby know, I maintain quite a collection of New and Old World arboreals and these tree-dwelling denizens are to me the most magnificent creatures within the tarantula kingdom and hopefully, they will always fill this niche in my life.

But, within my collection there will always exist members of the 'dime-a-dozen' tarantula species as in my years involved in this hobby, I can't for the life of me figure out what price has to do with the quest for knowledge and our interests?

So, take that money put aside for that Brazilopelma and rush out and grab you up a P. murinus or an A. seemanni for your collection and enjoy 
the true magnificence these creatures truly offer the collector, beginner or expert alike!

For Kelly Swift and his tireless dedication to breeding.


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