Ecuador – Avicularia hirschii found in a special retreat!
Adult male in search of females
Our team was lucky enough to find this elusive species of the genus Avicularia two times on our trip through Ecuador. First encounter was a mature male wandering the tree trunks at night. Without further webbing found, this male was actively searching for females to mate.
Avicularia hirschii vs. Avicularia lynnae
Avicularia hirschii is easily recognizable by its black stripe along its opisthsoma in juvenile specimens and adult males and females. With the newly described Avicularia lynnae, things are getting a little bit more complicated regarding this unique optical feature of the species of Avicularia hirschii. With the description of a single male specimen, Avicularia lynnae appears to have the same longitudal black strip on its opisthosoma. Further investigations will show the relationship of these two species and their biogeographical boundries. Since we were more close to the type site of Avicularia hirschii, we identified both specimens as said species.
Typical habitat of lowland rainforest in Ecuador with altitudes between 450 and 700 meters above sea level.
Avicularia sp. “Rotbüschel”
The reason why this species was first called sp. “Rotbüschel” in the spider trade. “Rotbüschel” is german and means “red hairs building a patch of dense hair”. Another feature which makes this species easily recognizable in the field. Even though this species was known since the early 90’s, arachno-pioneer Heinz Hirschi, Switzerland, managed to find this remarkable species on one of his many trips to South America. It took over 15 years this species finally got scientifically described as Avicularia hirschii by Bullmer, Thierer-Lutz & Schmidt in 2006.
Revealed in all its beauty. Avicularia hirschii is known to be a defensive species, unlike other members of the Avicularia genus.
The retreat in which the juvenile specimen was found. None of us have expected to find such a big specimen in a retreat that open in the field. The construct was made of grass of the plant itself and a lot of webbing.
The tube was, once discovered, clearly visible to the eye and immediately shouted “Tarantula spiders!” at us. But still, a lot of luck was needed to find this construct out in the field.
- Bullmer, M., Thierer-Lutz, M. & Schmidt, G. (2006). Avicularia hirschii sp. n. (Araneae: Theraphosidae: Aviculariinae), eine neue Vogelspinnenart aus Ekuador. Tarantulas of the World 124: 3-17.
- Fukushima, C. S. & Bertani, R. (2017). Taxonomic revision and cladistic analysis of Avicularia Lamarck, 1818 (Araneae, Theraphosidae, Aviculariinae) with description of three new aviculariine genera. ZooKeys 659: 1-185, Suppl. 1-5. doi:10.3897/zookeys.659.10717
nature lover and arachno enthusiasts who is traveling the world in search for ecological insights and new species of Theraphosidae and other arachnids