COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Grammostola rosea
DIETNocturnal predator of small arthropods
RANGEFound throughout northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina
HABITATPrimarily deserts and Scrublands
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Program and General Information
Chilean rose tarantulas are calm, docile spiders native to desert scrub habitats in South America. They have dark bodies with rose-hued hair.
These active predators use their body size to subdue prey.
The overall color is brown to black with rose-hued hair on the hard-shell upper body. A tarantula’s fangs fold under the body, meaning that it must strike downward to impale its prey. Tarantulas have four pairs of legs, or eight legs total.
In addition, they have four other appendages near the mouth called chelicerae and pedipalps. The chelicerae contain fangs and venom, while the pedipalps are used as feelers and claws; both aid in feeding. The pedipalps are also used by the male as a part of reproduction.
Common Physical Features
The Rose Hair Tarantula is a moderately large tarantula. A fully mature Rose Hair can reach approximately 6 inches in its total leg span. They reach full size in about 3 – 4 years. They are usually either dark brown, blackish or grey in their base color. Some Chilean rose hair tarantulas have orange/reddish hairs all over their body, while others have a tan body with pink hairs and some have copper colored hairs. They have eight eyes; they are very small and generally not very strong.
Habitat and Global Range
Found throughout northern Chile. Also found in parts of Bolivia and Argentina. They are primarily desert and scrubland dwelling. They like to dig burrows in the ground.
Nocturnal predator of small arthropods. Prey is injected with venom and enzymes that begin breaking it down into ingestible fluids. They do not spin a web to catch food, they will chase after prey to inject venom.
Behavior and Life Cycle
The Rose Hair Tarantula is known for being one of the most docile of all tarantulas. However they are aggressive towards each other, even females will fight if left in the same enclosure. Female will also eventually eat the males if left too long together. Tarantulas tend to hide during the day and hunt at night. Like all New World tarantula species, these spiders can flick their hairs off their abdomens, causing an irritating reaction in an attacker. After a short display, they will beat a hasty retreat or will simply walk away. High-strung specimens will often show a dark bald patch on their abdomens from flicking away the hairs. Spiders are oviparous, which means they lay eggs.
A mature male will produce a sperm web in which he will deposits his sperm and then suck it up in his palp, after which he is ready for courtship. He will approach the female’s shelter cautiously, tapping and vibrating his legs. The female will be “lured” out of her burrow or shelter and the male will typically lunge forward to use his hooks to hold the female’s chelicerae (mouth parts that hold the fangs) and to push her into an almost upright position to give himself access to the female’s epigyne (female opening) for mating.
If fertilized, the female will produce an egg sac in the following weeks. This species produces large egg sacs, usually containing in excess of 500 babies. Typically, the male will die in the weeks following a successful mating.
Solitary. Live in burrows in the ground which they have dug or found abandoned by rodents. Burrow is lined with silk produced by the spider. They don’t make aerial or food catching webs. Immature tarantulas molt up to 4 times per year; adult females molt once a year throughout their adult life. Reach adulthood when 8-12 years old; mating time is in the fall. 100 or more eggs are laid in a silken sac-like case..
Tarantulas play an important ecological role because they prey upon insects. By eating insects they help control pest species that damage crops and homes. Most species of spiders help with pest insect control. Even though tarantulas are not found naturally in Pennsylvania, it is still important for us to realize that spiders are vital to our environment, even in our own backyard. Create a spider friendly garden. Planting natural areas around your house or community encourages wildlife into the area by providing food and shelter for those species. Keeping undisturbed areas under shrubs or in flower beds will encourage spiders to create their webs in these areas. Spiders help keep gardens healthy by eating pest species that can destroy trees, flowers, and bushes. Spiders can also help by catching mosquitoes in their webs which will create a happier outside oasis for you and your family.