Wonder + Wildness

Chasing wonder on a science guided journey through the natural world in search of meaning, connections, and the courage to hope

This Rare, Sapphire Tarantula Is An Unbelievable ‘Gem’

 

Move over ‘spider paws’! The Gooty Sapphire Tarantula’s galactic colors are stunning.

This unexpected beauty from Gooty, a town in Central Southern India, certainly doesn’t have a shortage of names. It’s most commonly referred to as the Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tree Spider.

Gooty_Tarantula,_Metallic_Tarantula_or_Peacock_Tarantula_(Poecilotheria_metallica) (1)
The Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tree Spider, aka the Peacock Tarantula, aka the Metallic Tarantula, aka the Salepurg, aka the Peacock Parachute Spider, aka the Gooty Tarantula, aka…I think you get it.

 

Chromatic Arachnid

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A Common Grackle is an example of iridescence in birds

The extraordinary coloration of this tarantula comes from what are referred to as nanostructures, incredibly small structures on the hairs of the tarantulas which reflect light. In this case, these tarantulas aren’t producing a blue color, rather their hairs are bending and reflecting blue light. This means that depending on the angle that you are looking at the Gooty from, it may appear a different color, a trait called iridescence. You may have seen this same trait in peacocks and/or dragonflies.

 

 

Another Kind of Striking

The Gooty Sapphire is a tree-dwelling tarantula that lives in the holes of trees where they construct funnel webs. Occasionally, they have been found living somewhat communally when territories are limited (ie, holes in trees). Unlike many types of spiders, the Gooty doesn’t rely on its webs to catch their prey, which are usually all types of flying insects. Instead, they ambush their prey with a paralyzing bite. Don’t worry though; no humans have ever died from the potent-peck of the Gooty Sapphire. That’s not to say that the bite itself isn’t harmless. In fact, a bite from their 3/4 inch fangs can be incredibly painful, though it isn’t common. Gooty venom causes increased heart-rate, sweating, headaches, and all sorts of fun stuff, lasting up to a week.

Endangered and In Danger

Again, the Gooty Sapphire gets its name from the town Gooty in Central Southern India where they live. In fact, their entire natural range is less than 39 square miles in an area designated as a forest reserve. Despite this designation, it continues to be an area that is highly exploited for its resources. Logging and firewood harvesting are rapidly degrading the only natural habitat of the Gooty Sapphire. This combined with the pressures of the international pet trade have already put this arachnid on the Endangered Species list as Critically Endangered- thus making it even more of a gem than is is biologically.

 

8 responses to “This Rare, Sapphire Tarantula Is An Unbelievable ‘Gem’”

  1. […] The wild nature, the exotic blue color of the spider comes from nanostructures in the hairs that reflect the blue […]

  2. […] The Wild Life, la coloration bleu métallique de l’araignée provient de nanostructures sur ses […]

  3. […] In the wild, Gooty Sapphires build funnel webs in the holes of trees, and wait to ambush any insect that comes near. They then bite their prey with their venomous ¾ inch fangs. Which means only experienced tarantula enthusiasts should take a Gooty Sapphire as pets. They’re aggressive and very fast. While their venom is not normally deadly to humans, their bite is painful and will give a human headaches and increased heart-rates for up to a week.[6] […]

  4. […] In the wild, Gooty Sapphires build funnel webs in the holes of trees, and wait to ambush any insect that comes near. They then bite their prey with their venomous ¾ inch fangs. Which means only experienced tarantula enthusiasts should take a Gooty Sapphire as pets. They’re aggressive and very fast. While their venom is not normally deadly to humans, their bite is painful and will give a human headaches and increased heart-rates for up to a week.[6] […]

  5. […] In the wild, Gooty Sapphires build funnel webs in the holes of trees, and wait to ambush any insect that comes near. They then bite their prey with their venomous ¾ inch fangs. Which means only experienced tarantula enthusiasts should take a Gooty Sapphire as pets. They’re aggressive and very fast. While their venom is not normally deadly to humans, their bite is painful and will give a human headaches and increased heart-rates for up to a week.[6] […]

  6. […] In the wild, Gooty Sapphires build funnel webs in the holes of trees, and wait to ambush any insect that comes near. They then bite their prey with their venomous ¾ inch fangs. Which means only experienced tarantula enthusiasts should take a Gooty Sapphire as pets. They’re aggressive and very fast. While their venom is not normally deadly to humans, their bite is painful and will give a human headaches and increased heart-rates for up to a week.[6] […]

  7. […] 1,254 Times Gulls and the Concrete Sea: Why do Seagulls Love Parking Lots? Viewed 1,205 Times This Rare, Sapphire Tarantula Is An Unbelievable ‘Gem’ Viewed 973 Times Get your head out of the sand! Ostriches are actually pretty amazing. Viewed 574 […]

  8. […] Check out pictures and a transcript of the episode here […]

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