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Purple and Orange Cloud Forest Tarantula | by antonsrkn
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Purple and Orange Cloud Forest Tarantula

Vitalius wacketi/Pamphobeteus platyomma - El Oro Province, Ecuador

 

I have always liked tarantulas and have seen a fair amount of species in the various tropical locales I have spent time in. However in terms of sheer impressiveness and beauty I don't think any can compare to this species! These were semi-common in the foothills of the Western Andes in the El Oro province of Ecuador. I can't seem to figure out what to correctly refer to this spider as, despite the fact that it certainly seems to exist in the pet trade, many people seem to say it is an undescribed species incorrectly called by one of the latin names I provided. I am unsure of what name is correct and have contacted someone more knowledgeable than I about it, I will update the info with any new info I learn. Based on what little info I was able to glean I can say that this is likely a male, the females are even larger and lack the stunning colors. Photos of females still to come! These beautiful spiders were not the most placid of tarantulas, the one attempt we made to pick an individual up by hand resulted with the spider darting at the hand and attempting to bite. I didn't need any more convincing to not try to handle these. A bite would likely be no worse than a wasp sting but something about being bitten by a giant spider freaks me out, I don't mind non-venomous snake bites at all and have often been left bleeding after encounters but a massive spider makes me shy away. These large colorful males could be found wandering around during the day, probably searching for a female who stays concealed in her burrow. This tarantula seems to be at home in the wet cloud forest and surrounding pastures of the Andes, I did not see many at lower drier altitudes but this could be biased information as I spent far more time higher up where our study species, the el Oro Parakeet, lived. If anyone can give me more info about these, I'd really appreciate it!

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Taken on January 25, 2015