Grammostola rosea

( Chilean rose tarantula )


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Grammostola
Species: Grammostola rosea


Description: The most common species of tarantula in currently in pet stores in the United States, the Chilean rose tarantula are captured in large numbers and exported from Chile for a very slim cost. The female G. rosea is anticipated to live up to 20 years with proper care. However there is a possibility that they could live much longer. Natives to the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, G. rosea is accustomed to a hot, dry habitat. Most of the hydration needed for life is obtained through food they consume. Moderately large in size, the rose tarantula can reach a 12.5 cm leg span after 3-4 years. They are docile and easy to care for.




Close up image of spinnerets of Grammostola rosea


Easily mistaken for another set of legs, the pedipalps are two six-segmented appendages attached to the thorax near the mouth. At the end of each pedipalp are sharp plates (maxillae) used to crush food. The pedipalp also aid in feeling and capturing prey. On male tarantula the pedipalps also function as part of the reproductive system. Male tarantulas spin a silk platform onto the ground and excrete semen from the glands in their opistoma onto the platform. The semen is then absorbed into the end of the pedipalp and then inserted into the reproductive organ of the female.

The four pairs of legs of the tarantula each have seven segments from the inside out are the coxa, trochanter, femur, patella, tibia, tarsus and pretarsus, and claw. The 2 or 3 claws at the end of each leg aid in climbing.

On the end of opisthosoma are the spinnerets. The spinnerets function as the tubelike structures from which the spider excretes its silk. On the end of each spinneret is called the spinning field and each field is covered by approximately one hundred spinning tubes. Silk hardens with contact to air and becomes threadlike.

Regardless of the terrifying appearance, there has been no tarantula bite known to be deadly to humans. The G. rosea will give a thorough warning before striking. The rose tarantula will rear up its front legs in defense and if this does not ward off a predator the tarantula will flick urticating hairs at its attacker.




Top view of Grammostola rosea
Image of pedipalp of Grammostola rosea









Photographic specifications:

Canon 5D Mark II
100mm macro lens
Canfield Ring Flash
Subject was photographed live with handheld equipment

All images © Sasha Escobar 2010




Comstock, John Henry (1920) [First published 1912]. The Spider Book. Doubleday, Page & Company. pp. 106–121

Foelix, Rainer F. (1996). Biology of Spiders (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 182–185

Gurley, R, n.d., Rose-haired Tarantula: Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula Animal World, retrieved 9 November 2010.