The Green Bottle Blue Tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens)
By Tim Surman from petbugs.co.za and leapinglizards.co.za
The Green Bottle Blue’s scientific name Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens is quite a mouthful and was derived from Greek, roughly meaning “green and blue hairy coloured feet” Nothing about this tarantula is boring, almost everything about this beauty shouts “look at me!”. In fact if this tarantula was a person it would probably be a slightly insecure, eccentric, belly dancing, hair model.
The legs on this spider are an iridescent blue, with a green carapace. The abdomen is reddish orange, which makes it an attractive addition to any collection. It almost looks as if they have been quickly thrown together using parts of various tarantulas. If you are looking for a chilled, easy going, boring, brown tarantula then this may not be your first choice.
This tarantula originates from the more arid regions of Venezuela and its enclosure should mirror this. These guys web a lot and in their natural habitats their webs can be quite impressive. It is believed that the webs are used to bind the sandy soil and loose plant matter, help raise humidity within the funnels and it is also believed to play a part in trapping or slowing down potential prey.
There is some controversy as to whether this is an arboreal or ground dwelling species due to their impressive webs, growth rate and arboreal-like looks. Most researchers however, have come to the conclusion that they are essentially ground dwelling. They construct a large web on the ground with complicated funnels and although some of these will extend vertically, more time is spent on the ground. It is therefore important to provide an enclosure with a decent amount of ground area.
Green Bottle Blues make reasonably good pets but can be a bit skittish, so if you intend handling them, do so cautiously. Being a New World Tarantula (North and South America and the surrounding Islands) they have relatively mild venom and bites are usually similar to a bee sting. I have heard of a few persons having allergic reactions to the venom so it is always best to have a good antihistamine handy when handling or coming into contact with any tarantula.
Captive care is relatively easy, as when kept correctly they are usually quite hardy. Cages should be kept on the dryer side and the substrate should be allowed to completely dry out before any moisture is added. This breaks the cycle of molds, many potential parasites and pests. Good ventilation is also needed to reduce the humidity levels, which should be kept below 60%. A decent sized ground area is recommended but they seem to do well in arboreal type enclosures as well. A small water bowl can be provided but they have rarely been observed drinking from bowls.
These tarantulas are usually enthusiastic feeders and seldom turn down a meal. This may help explain their relatively fast growth rate. Some specimens can mature in as little as 2 years. Males will rarely live beyond the age of 4, but females may live to the ripe old age of 12 or more.
They are not the easiest tarantula to breed as many males will be a bit nervous around females, and rightfully so! Some females will also eat their eggsacs if disturbed so it is best to limit any interference. Breeders in South Africa have however been very successful in recent years and the local price is often lower than in Europe or America. When introducing the males to the female’s enclosure, it is usually best for the female to have a well-established web structure. This may help the female feel more secure and prevent her eating the male out of fear or in defense. Egg sacs can produce over 200 relatively large eggs and these quickly molt into very fast, bug eating machines.
No matter how extensive your collection is, space should always be made for this extraordinarily exuberant tarantula. No collection would be complete without a GBB.