BUGGY BOOK REVIEW: “Spiders of North America” by Sarah Rose

There have been many field guides to spiders over the years and most are really good. Of the more than 49,000 species of spiders worldwide, some 4,000 are in North America. Spiders of North America explores more than 500 of the most common and interesting spiders found in this region of the world. This richly illustrated guide begins with an overview of spiders―what they are exactly, how they can be found, how they develop, and why they are important.

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TARANTULA GENUS SPOTLIGHT: Theraphosa, the Goliath Bird Eaters

Goliath bird-eating tarantulas are the largest spiders by mass in the world (the giant huntsman spider has a larger leg span), belonging to the genus Theraphosa. They can have a body length of 5.1 inches and a leg span of a foot. At the time I started keeping tarantulas in the late 1970s, there was only one species known, Theraphosa blondi (though at the time it was being sold as Theraphosa leblondi). Blondi, described in 1804, was thought to be the only species of goliath until in 1991, the goliath pink foot (Theraphosa apophysis), was described. Then, in 2010, the burgundy goliath (Theraphosa stirmi) was described. Though all three species look similar as adults, the spiderling and juvenile stages show the greatest differences between species.

Theraphosa blondi (Latreille, 1804)

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The first tarantula I ever had was Brachypelma hamorii, then known as smithi. I had her for fifteen years, after my parents bought her for me in 1979 from a local pet shop. Since then, though I now keep many genuses of tarantulas, Brachypelma will always hold a special place in my heart. They are easy to keep, are very long lived, and all are absolutely beautiful. In 2019, many Brachypelma species were re-designated under the new genus Tliltocatl. According to the World Spider Catalog, there are currently eight species of Brachypelma, all originating from Mexico. Thanks to captive-breeding efforts within the United States, most of these are readily available as spiderlings. All species are protected, and trade is regulated under CITES.

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BUGGY BOOK REVIEW: “Venomous Words” by Jeff Oliver and Gordon Reilly

As is often the case, I become aware of new books through random Amazon searches. I am always looking for new books on tarantulas and “Venomous Words” by Jeff Oliver and Gordon Reilly appeared in the offerings and the concept intrigued me, macro-photography combined with dark poetry. What a great combination and the book’s cover certainly sucked me in, despite the high price tag.

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BUGGY PRODUCT REVIEW: Tarantula Cribs’ Sling Crib

Keeping tarantulas as pets is a hobby that has been around for quite some time. Though many people don’t understand the fascination with the world’s largest spiders, it is still a hobby enjoyed by people, women and men, worldwide. I started my fascination in the late 1970s and have been hooked ever since. Like all pets, it is easy to become attached to them and as will all pet owners, you want the best for your charges.

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BUGGY VENDOR REVIEW: Jamie’s Tarantulas

I first started buying from Jamie’s Tarantulas in 2015, thanks to a great variety of tarantula species and very reasonable prices. There was then a lull in my purchasing of new tarantulas all together, until this year. Because I was acquiring quite a few spiderlings from someone else, my first purchase in quite awhilewas for her 4 x 4 x 6″ Mag-Terra Enclosures.

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I am always on the lookout for new and exciting tarantula species that I can add to my ever-growing collection. In 2014, one species in particular stood out for me…Monocentropus balfouri, the Socotra Island Blue Leg Baboon Spider. For the most part I have never had an interest in baboon spiders but this one certainly struck my fancy. First off, it is stunningly beautiful with its tan and blue coloration. Next, from what I have read, they are generally pretty docile, a trait not often found in baboon spiders. Then, since they live in a dry climate, their humidity requirements are minimal. Finally, word has it that they can be kept successfully in groups, something that is rare in tarantulas.


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BUGGY BOOK REVIEW: “The Old World Tarantula Coloring Book” by Laura Airey Le

It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful things you can find on Etsy. Being a tarantula enthusiast, it is one topic I find myself searching quite often. Recently I came across artist Laura Airey Le and her Etsy store GrayGhostCreations. The first thing that drew me to her store was her tarantula art prints; then I found her “The Old World Tarantula Coloring Book.”

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BUGGY VENDOR REVIEW: Fear Not Tarantulas

I got my first tarantula in 1977 and I have been hooked since. Over the years I have purchased my tarantulas from various sources; at reptile shows, from pet stores and online. Though I have known of Fear Not Tarantulas for a while now, I only placed my first order with them recently.

Thanks to Tom’s Big Spiders, I have become even more excited about tarantulas than usual recently. Thanks to Tom I started a Monocentropus balfouri communal enclosure and with his high praises of Fear Not Tarantulas, I decided to give them a try.

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BUGGY PRODUCT REVIEW: Lorex Plastics’ Tarantula Enclosures

Lately I have been hearing a lot about communal set-ups for the Socatra Island Blue Baboon Spider, Monocentropus balfouri. After listening to a few podcasts on the subject, thanks to Tom’s Big Spiders, I decided to try it myself. Though there was no shortage of the tarantulas themselves, I wanted to make sure to get the best enclosure possible for this project.

Monocentropus balfouri.
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