CJ's Bug Blog

New World vs. Old World Tarantulas
I am planning on buying my first Old World tarantula next week. All of my tarantulas are New World species and I think I am ready to get my first old world tarantula. Specifically a Togo Starburst Baboon (Heteroscodra Maculata). Which leads to the question: what is the difference between Old World tarantulas and New World tarantulas?
The undetailed answer is that all tarantulas from the Americas are considered New World tarantulas and all of the tarantulas from everywhere else (such as Asia and Africa) are considered Old World tarantulas. But, the difference between New and Old World tarantulas doesn’t end there. Generally, New World tarantulas are considered better tarantulas for beginners to the tarantula keeping hobby and Old World tarantulas should be left to more advanced keepers. Here is why: New World tarantulas tend to be less aggressive and also tend to have less potent venom than Old World tarantulas. The reason for this is that almost all New World species have three lines of defense against predators.
The primary line of defense for New World tarantulas are these barbed “hairs” that they can kick at predators. These “hairs” are called urticating hairs. Urticating hairs are VERY itchy when they get on the skin, the feeling comparative to when fiberglass gets on the skin and if they get in the eyes the person or predator, they can go blind.  Some people (like myself) can also have allergic reactions to these hairs. I, personally, get extremely itchy red bumps on my hands, arms and stomach for a few days and sometimes my fingers swell a bit. Different species of New World tarantulas have hairs with varying levels of irritation. Goliath Birdeater tarantulas (Theraphosa Blondi) are supposed to have some of the worst urticating hairs.
The second like of defense of New World tarantulas is that they can shoot their poop. Ideally they shoot it into the eyes of the predator. Only one of my tarantulas has tried to shoot poop at me. When I first held my A. purpurea, Priff, when she was only a sling (baby tarantulas are called slings) she shot a tiny little drop of watery poop in my general direction but missed me. It was actually pretty adorable considering she was only the size of my thumbnail at the time.
The final line of defense that New World tarantulas possess is the one that is most well known, their bite. However, most New World tarantulas do not have very potent venom, the bites of the majority of New World tarantulas are likened to bee stings. The only time a bite from a New World tarantula could be a big deal is if you are allergic. I personally have never been bitten but I keep allergy medication around just incase.  New World tarantulas don’t need potent venom since they already have a couple of other lines of defense.
Old World tarantulas only have one line of defense, their bite. This is why they tend to have more potent venom and also tend to be far more aggressive. They can’t shoot their poop nor do they have urticating hairs so they over compensate in the evil- bitey department. Some bites, like that of the beautiful and popular Gooty Sapphire Ornamental (P. metallica) tarantula has been known to cause symptoms such as swelling, numbness, muscle cramping and vomiting in some people. Other old world tarantula bites such as that of the Togo Starburst Baboon have been said to be more like a wasp sting, though I suspect symptoms vary from person to person. The one thing we CAN be sure of is that no tarantula bite causes death. That being said, the majority of tarantula keepers practice a hands- off approach when it comes to Old- World tarantulas.

New World vs. Old World Tarantulas

I am planning on buying my first Old World tarantula next week. All of my tarantulas are New World species and I think I am ready to get my first old world tarantula. Specifically a Togo Starburst Baboon (Heteroscodra Maculata). Which leads to the question: what is the difference between Old World tarantulas and New World tarantulas?

The undetailed answer is that all tarantulas from the Americas are considered New World tarantulas and all of the tarantulas from everywhere else (such as Asia and Africa) are considered Old World tarantulas. But, the difference between New and Old World tarantulas doesn’t end there. Generally, New World tarantulas are considered better tarantulas for beginners to the tarantula keeping hobby and Old World tarantulas should be left to more advanced keepers. Here is why: New World tarantulas tend to be less aggressive and also tend to have less potent venom than Old World tarantulas. The reason for this is that almost all New World species have three lines of defense against predators.

The primary line of defense for New World tarantulas are these barbed “hairs” that they can kick at predators. These “hairs” are called urticating hairs. Urticating hairs are VERY itchy when they get on the skin, the feeling comparative to when fiberglass gets on the skin and if they get in the eyes the person or predator, they can go blind.  Some people (like myself) can also have allergic reactions to these hairs. I, personally, get extremely itchy red bumps on my hands, arms and stomach for a few days and sometimes my fingers swell a bit. Different species of New World tarantulas have hairs with varying levels of irritation. Goliath Birdeater tarantulas (Theraphosa Blondi) are supposed to have some of the worst urticating hairs.

The second like of defense of New World tarantulas is that they can shoot their poop. Ideally they shoot it into the eyes of the predator. Only one of my tarantulas has tried to shoot poop at me. When I first held my A. purpurea, Priff, when she was only a sling (baby tarantulas are called slings) she shot a tiny little drop of watery poop in my general direction but missed me. It was actually pretty adorable considering she was only the size of my thumbnail at the time.

The final line of defense that New World tarantulas possess is the one that is most well known, their bite. However, most New World tarantulas do not have very potent venom, the bites of the majority of New World tarantulas are likened to bee stings. The only time a bite from a New World tarantula could be a big deal is if you are allergic. I personally have never been bitten but I keep allergy medication around just incase.  New World tarantulas don’t need potent venom since they already have a couple of other lines of defense.

Old World tarantulas only have one line of defense, their bite. This is why they tend to have more potent venom and also tend to be far more aggressive. They can’t shoot their poop nor do they have urticating hairs so they over compensate in the evil- bitey department. Some bites, like that of the beautiful and popular Gooty Sapphire Ornamental (P. metallica) tarantula has been known to cause symptoms such as swelling, numbness, muscle cramping and vomiting in some people. Other old world tarantula bites such as that of the Togo Starburst Baboon have been said to be more like a wasp sting, though I suspect symptoms vary from person to person. The one thing we CAN be sure of is that no tarantula bite causes death. That being said, the majority of tarantula keepers practice a hands- off approach when it comes to Old- World tarantulas.

My new Bird eater… 
So along with my new vinegaroon I got two new tarantulas this week from a very cool priest who breeds and collects snakes but was trying to downsize his collection. So when we were first emailing he told me that he had a bird eater tarantula that he wanted to give me. Of course, I automatically assumed that he was referring to a Goliath Bird eater (T. blondi) which is a tarantula that I have always wanted to add to my collection (okay, so maybe every tarantula is a tarantula I want to add to my collection). So needless to say I was very excited when I went to pick up my new T. blondi but of course the moment I saw the tarantula I knew that it was no T. blondi and he didn’t seem to know exactly what it was either other than he thought it was a bird eater. Of course, I still wanted it and I took it home and began researching what it might be and I THINK it may be a juvenile Bahia Scarlet Bird eater (Lasiodora klugi) which is a tarantula that I had actually never heard of before. But anyways, since I unfortunately am working next weekend I can’t have it identified at NARBC so instead I am going send out a few emails with pictures to other big names in the tarantula hobby… which is something I should probably do with Rimby (the suspected Costa Rican Red Rump) also. I will keep you all posted on what I find out.

My new Bird eater…

So along with my new vinegaroon I got two new tarantulas this week from a very cool priest who breeds and collects snakes but was trying to downsize his collection. So when we were first emailing he told me that he had a bird eater tarantula that he wanted to give me. Of course, I automatically assumed that he was referring to a Goliath Bird eater (T. blondi) which is a tarantula that I have always wanted to add to my collection (okay, so maybe every tarantula is a tarantula I want to add to my collection). So needless to say I was very excited when I went to pick up my new T. blondi but of course the moment I saw the tarantula I knew that it was no T. blondi and he didn’t seem to know exactly what it was either other than he thought it was a bird eater. Of course, I still wanted it and I took it home and began researching what it might be and I THINK it may be a juvenile Bahia Scarlet Bird eater (Lasiodora klugi) which is a tarantula that I had actually never heard of before. But anyways, since I unfortunately am working next weekend I can’t have it identified at NARBC so instead I am going send out a few emails with pictures to other big names in the tarantula hobby… which is something I should probably do with Rimby (the suspected Costa Rican Red Rump) also. I will keep you all posted on what I find out.

Radical News Folks…

I just got a job as a presenter at Reptile Zoo… basically I present various reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates and educate groups about them. I am beyond stoked that I will be educating about some of my favorite animals AND being paid for it!

Why Vinegaroons are Metal as Fuck

So yesterday I received a free little baby (top two photos) who, by my friend’s suggestion, I have named Zim. Zim is a Vinegaroon, they are also called Whip Scorpions. Many people have no idea what a vinegaroon is so I will start off by saying that it is an arachnid, which means it is related to scorpions and spiders. They are in the family Thelyphonidae. There are different types of vinegaroons, I think this one may be a Giant Vinegaroon (Mastigoproctus giganteus) (see bottom photo of a full grown Giant Vinegaroon) because the guy who gave it to me said that he got it from Ken the Bug Guy and Ken the Bug guy seems to only have Giant Vinegaroons in stock at the moment. Vinegaroons use only six of their legs for walking and they use the front two legs as sensory organs like antennae. They prefer dark, humid environments and in captivity they generally eat crickets and/or roaches. They are not venomous, though they may pinch and THEY CAN SHOOT ACID OUT OF GLANDS IN THEIR ABDOMEN AND INTO THE EYES OF THOSE WHO ATTEMPT TO PREY UPON THEM… and that is why vinegaroons are so metal. The acid they shoot out of their tails is acetic acid and it smells like… you guessed it, vinegar, which is how they got the name vinegaroon. I am pretty damn excited about finally owning one.

Prionus californicus
One of the insects I saw on my trip was this California root borer (Prionus californicus) which is in the longhorn beetle family. These buggers are native to Western America and are considered an agricultural pest. I found this particular one while camping in San Jose, CA.
Now, I don’t know if they are all like this, but this was one hell of a sassy bug! After excitedly showing it to all of my friends and photographing it I decided it would be a good idea to move it off of the walkway so that it wouldn’t get stepped on (yes, it may be a pest but it’s cute okay!?). So I proceeded to try to gently poke at it with a stick in an attempt to guide it off of the path… but boy, it was not happy AT ALL about that! It wouldn’t budge and instead it started to tell me off in its’ little bug language (which sounded like squeaky hissing) and waving its’ jagged “horns” angrily at me. Finally, I got fed up (and a tad bit offended) and I said to it “Fine if you want to get smooshed, please don’t let me stop you… jerk.”

Prionus californicus

One of the insects I saw on my trip was this California root borer (Prionus californicus) which is in the longhorn beetle family. These buggers are native to Western America and are considered an agricultural pest. I found this particular one while camping in San Jose, CA.

Now, I don’t know if they are all like this, but this was one hell of a sassy bug! After excitedly showing it to all of my friends and photographing it I decided it would be a good idea to move it off of the walkway so that it wouldn’t get stepped on (yes, it may be a pest but it’s cute okay!?). So I proceeded to try to gently poke at it with a stick in an attempt to guide it off of the path… but boy, it was not happy AT ALL about that! It wouldn’t budge and instead it started to tell me off in its’ little bug language (which sounded like squeaky hissing) and waving its’ jagged “horns” angrily at me. Finally, I got fed up (and a tad bit offended) and I said to it “Fine if you want to get smooshed, please don’t let me stop you… jerk.”

Update:
Hey ya’ll!
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been on an epic adventure along the U.S. West Coast (Good news is that I saw and photographed plenty of bugs along the way that I will post about!) Snoopy and I are working on some new posts right now so expect this to become a much more active blog very soon! Thanks for sticking with me!

Update:

Hey ya’ll!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been on an epic adventure along the U.S. West Coast (Good news is that I saw and photographed plenty of bugs along the way that I will post about!) Snoopy and I are working on some new posts right now so expect this to become a much more active blog very soon! Thanks for sticking with me!

What do colony collapse and spider venom have to do with each other?

For a long time the cause of the mysterious mass- collapse of honey bee colonies was unknown but if you keep up on the issue you may have heard that the main cause has been determined to be neonicotinoids, which is a type of insecticide. The effect of this insecticide has been proven to have a significantly negative effect on bee survival. Europe has the right idea and has banned them but the U.S. is dragging their feet for various reasons and we really don’t have time to mess around with this issue. There is an article circulating that you may have seen about this saying that honey bee extinction is a very real thing that could happen relatively quickly. If that happens it’s very possible that we will all die, since bees pollinate a huge percentage of our crops. Sure, we may adapt and find other (possibly artificial) means of pollination but it will probably be a huge struggle and a humongous expense (you think the economy is bad now?)

An interesting discovery was made recently that may help with our problem: the venom of the Australian funnel web spider can be used to make an effective bio- pesticide without causing such detrimental harm to bees. If you ask me we (America) need to quit shuffling our feet and ban neonicotinoids immediately and jump into researching this new bio-pesticide made with spider venom and in the meantime implement some organic pest management techniques! Here are some links if you want to read more…

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140706-25637.html

http://rt.com/usa/164348-bee-friendly-pesticide-spider-venom/

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/about/intheworks/ccd-european-ban.html

http://www.wired.com/2012/03/neonicotinoids-bee-collapse/

heyyy i just wanted to pop by and say hi (((: I was looking at my pictures of that huge corn spider i found a couple of years ago (idk if youd remember it) but i realized i hadnt talked to you in forever and i hope youre doing ok!!!! also youve reminded me that i want to start a pin collection. idk how successful ill be bc i dont think i can handle a kill jar, i feel bad killing the ants in my room, but i just want a wall that looks like your background lmao

Hi! Thanks for popping by! Of course I remember the awesome spider pictures! Yeah I understand about the kill jar thing totally. I have been trying to start a pinned collection for ages but it’s slow going because I just collect insects that I find already dead in good condition or if they are already dying I use the jar to speed it up. Let me know if you start and how your progress goes! Thanks for popping in to say hi! :)

pewpuupalace:

neeneejb:

Orchid Mantis

it’s sooo pretty .

i love these little guys, they are like magical girl mantissssssessssess

So on the left is my new baby Green Bottle Blue (chromatopelma cyaneopubescens), Moby. My aunt bought her (not sexed just wishful thinking) for me for Christmas ^_^ On the right is how she will look when she grows up.

Sooo a funny thing happened…

Some personal things happened recently involving school that have led me to the decision to not go away to college anytime soon… which means I no longer have anything keeping me from buying more tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes etc…

LET THE MADNESS ENSUE.

Drone Fly vs. Honey Bee

I was inspired by the post that I just reblogged where the person mistook a honey bee for a bee-mimic fly. Here is a photo comparison of a drone fly Eristalis tenax (see top photo) and a honey bee (genus: Apis however I cannot distinguish between the seven different species of honey bee) (see bottom photo). As you can see, and as the other post pointed out, the drone fly only has one set of wings and the bee has two sets (though it can be difficult to see the second set). The markings are also different, as are the behaviors. The drone fly moves erratically and/or hovers around whereas bees often more slowly from flower to flower.  

nemertea:

jayrockin:

A deceased bee-mimic fly. It wants you to think it is a European honey bee and can sting you, but you can tell it’s a faker by the stockiness of the body, the non-geniculate antenna, and the size of its compound eyes; which touch at the top (European honey bee compound eyes are separate and located on opposite sides of the head.)

So there are lots of flies out there that mimic bees, and they are cool, but this is actually a plain old honey bee, Apis melifera. It’s just a drone, or male bee. Drones can be readily distinguished from the females by their large eyes (and, yes, they are stingless, as stingers are derived from the ovipositor, a structure found only in females). The easiest way to tell that this is a bee and not a fly is to look at its wings — he very clearly has two sets of wings, unlike flies, which always have a single pair of wings (the second pair is reduced in size to a tiny pair of stabilizing structures called halteres).

I rehoused a couple of my tarantulas today. This one is Rimby she outgrew the Tupperware container that I had her in. If you don’t already know the story, I got her for free when she was a tiny little sling from the owner of an exotic pet shop shortly after I bought my first tarantula, Zmeef (my Versicolor). I don’t actually know what kind of tarantula Rimby is, the guy who gave her to me told me but I don’t remember for certain. She looks a lot like a Mexican Red Rump but I remember the guy saying Costa Rican something, and there are Costa Rican red rumps and they look pretty much exactly the same as mexican red rumps. So I’ve been calling her a Costa Rican red rump for about a year now. I’ve never actually held her before (she tends to be pretty feisty) but she was on her good behavior today so I figured I would take advantage.