This arachnid is iconic for both its pattering and coloration, though these arboreal spiders move with lightning speed. Because their bite is medically significant, this species isn't recommended for handling or for beginners. They are fairly photosensitive and will opt to hide out during the day. They are most frequently seen in the open when stretching their legs after dark, but it is a treat to catch them out of their hide.
Poecilotheria metallica has Greek and Latin roots meaning “colored,” “beast,” and “metallic.” With its standout patterning, metallic blue sheen and the large size of the adults, it’s not hard to see how they got named. Though they were initially discovered in Gooty, spurring the most widely used of their common names, Gooty Sapphire Ornamental, Gooty is actually outside of their natural habitat. They are often also called just the Sapphire Ornamental or the Peacock Parachute Spider just to name a couple.
The Gooty Sapphire Ornamental is an arboreal species, meaning the enclosure should be taller than it is long. The recommended enclosure height is at least 3x the spider’s diagonal leg span, and the other dimensions should not be less than two times the spider’s diagonal leg span. This species does best in an enclosure with ample cross ventilation.
This species thrives in the mid 70’s to low 80’s, so a temperature range of 74-80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, though no issues have come from keeping them at general room temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures regularly dipping below 65 degrees or spiking above 85 degrees should be avoided.
These spiders thrive in a humid environment, thriving in ambient humidity between 75% and 85%. This can be achieved by making sure the substrate is always at least lightly moistened, the enclosure sides and decor should be spritzed at least lightly around 2x a week to provide your spiderling droplets to drink from. A small water dish such as a water bottle ink cap, tattoo ink cup or something of similar size can be provided for spiderlings.
Mature adults can reach up to an 8” diagonal legspan.
Females of this species can get up to 12 years of age, with males averaging about one third of that lifespan.
At time of sale, Gooty Sapphire Ornamentals sold by Josh’s Frogs are eating Hydei fruit flies. As the spider molts and grows, so should the prey items, with the goal size of feeder insects being the size of the spider’s carapace or smaller. Spiderlings should be fed every 4-7 days; adults every 7-10 days. To prevent injury, never offer food to a tarantula less than a week after its most recent molt.
Specimens of 2.5”-3” will be able to start being accurately sexed. The most accurate method will always be molt sexing. The molt of a female tarantula, between the top set of book lungs, will have a slit with spermatheca and a uterus externus, which on a smaller spider will just be a flap that moves when manipulated with a toothpick or a pin. A male tarantula will have a much more plain slit that will not budge with attempts to manipulate it.
Young spiderlings are largely greyscale in color, with some start to their adult patterning even as babies. As they grow and molt, their colors will change to primarily blue, black and white on the top side with the underside of their legs having bright, canary-yellow bands.
While some short term success has been reported housing Poecilotheria in communal setups, reports usually conclude that as they age, they tend to become cannibalistic. For this reason, we recommend these spiders be housed solitarily.
Males and females of sexual maturity can be put in the same enclosure briefly for the purpose of mating. Ideally, both will be fairly freshly molted and well fed. The male and female should be separated fairly immediately after insertion is observed (the male will generally initiate separation on his own after he has had success), or if the spiders are acting less than receptive or aggressive towards each other.
In the wild they can only be found in a 100 square kilometer area in central southern India called Andhra Pradesh. Pocock initially discovered them in Gooty, but it has since been concluded that the specimen he found there was only there by accident.
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