You are on page 1of 3


Lets take a look at a few of the adaptations that these tarantulas have
made in order to succeed and thrive in their environments!

Like all members of the phylum

Arthropoda, Brachypelma vagans are Ecdysozoans, meaning they molt (Dor2012). This adaptation allows B. vagans to shed their outer layer of skin,
making room for further growth and better protection. This may take anywhere
from 2-12 hours. During this time, B. vagans lay on their back and break free
from their old exoskeleton. Following this process, the Mexican Red Rump
Tarantula will typically avoid any interactions to deter from possible damage to
their fragile, soft, newly formed exoskeleton. This usually means hiding in their
burrow for a few hours, giving their new exoskeleton time to harden for
optimal protection.
Another adaptation that these quick, skittish spiders have made is a
defense mechanism that a few other tarantulas possess also. When threatened
by possible predators, B. vagans will kick these special urticating hairs off their
back and onto their attacker (Edwards-2013). When these hairs come in contact
with skin, eyes, or are inhaled, it presents a burning sensation that is harmful
to the predator, scaring it off. This adaptation has allowed B. vagans, along
with many other tarantulas, to not only survive, but thrive in their

There are three main types of urticating hairs. The type the B.
vagans and most other spider possesses is a true seta hair (Battisti et al. 2010).
These hairs are designed to be removed easily since they have lost a
neurological connection and are only held in by a thin layer of cells called
Integument (Battisti et al. 2010). The B. vagans does not always have these
hairs however, the B. vagans only gets these hairs after it reaches maturity and
leaves the parents nest (Battisti et al. 2010).
These organisms also have fangs, called chelicerae, located under the
eyes. The chelicerae have the ability to release poisonous venom into prey to
kill it. Once the B. vagans attacks its prey with its quick, stealthy hunting
technique, the tarantula with dig the fangs into the prey and release the
venom into the organism. Although this venom will kill most of the prey, it is
essentially harmless to humans. This is another reason why these spiders are
ideal for domestic keepings.
Another advantageous feature that the Mexican Red Rump Tarantula
possesses are the pedipalps. These are located on the foremost part of the
spider, slightly ahead of the front legs. Pedipalps are chemical detectors,
allowing the B. vagans to smell and taste its food. These sensitive detectors
are also used to carry sperm to the female during mating. This adaptation has
allowed the B. vagans to survive the threats from potential mates, who try to
kill off their male sperm providers.

Brachypelma vagans is a species of tarantula known commonly as the Mexican red

rump or Mexican black velvet. It ranges predominantly in Mexico, but can be found as far south
as Belize, El Salvador, and Guatemala. They are terrestrial, burrowingspiders. The reason for the
name red rump is because of its distinctive red hairs on its abdomen. Like most tarantulas, they will
eat anything they can overpower, which is usually insects, but small lizards and rodents may also be
consumed. They can grow to a 5 inch leg span, with males typically being smaller and thinner than
the females. They prefer scrubland habitats.
In 1996, Brachypelma vagans was discovered in the wild in St. Lucie County, Florida. It is now
considered an established non-native species in that state, where it is thought to have been
introduced through either accidental or intentional releases of specimens imported via the pet trade,
although their numbers have been dwindling due to many B. vagans eating insects poisoned by