Successful Breeding of Avicularia auranticum (formerly magdalena)
by Susan and Carl Portman
There are simply so many Avicularia species around these days, and it is a minefield when it comes to correct identification. In our experience, too many people were/are selling as "Avic. auranticum" when clearly they were/are not. Let us state now that we are far from being experts but we have consulted individuals such as Mark Titterton who clearly has substantial knowledge on the subject of theraphosids. We write this article then, as enthusiastic amateurs who would like to share an experience with other ELG members and hopefully they will be able to gain something from it.
The species Avicularia auranticum is readily identified for having striking yellow banding on the first three leg joints, but especially between the tarsus and metatarsus. The spider is light brown with reddish setae. In sunlight the spider shows much olive colouring on the legs. A. auranticum can be found in Colombia, and is in our opinion one of the most beautiful tree spiders in the Avicularia genera.
Our female is kept in a medium sized tank with a mixture of peat and vermiculite for substrate. A suitable piece of cork bark is provided for the spider to rest on. The temperature is 75°F and humidity ranges between 70 and 80 per cent. We procured our female on 4th October 1996, knowing that she was a wild caught specimen. We originally thought it was Avicularia juruensis as they do look similar, but this proved not to be the case, as when compared together, A. auranticum is, for one thing much yellower overall.
Soon after this purchase we were lucky enough to obtain a male of the species which we had never seen before. He was of the same colouring as the female until his final maturing moult in June 1996 when he metamorphosed into a superb jet black spider with bright yellow/golden banding on the legs. We introduced him to the female's chambers in early June. She still had her moult in the tank.
Mating itself took some time with both parties being very nervous of each other. When nothing had happened for two hours, we made the decision to leave him in with her overnight. We don't always do this but when we are confident that conditions are right we simply let nature take its course. Next morning we rose to find the female eating the remnants of the male. (So much for our analysis!) This was a real blow for two main reasons;
a) We did not know if they had mated and if they had not there would not now be another opportunity.
b) We could not loan him to other colleagues for important breeding purposes.
However, we always stand by our decisions and had no choice now but to wait and see. We kept the female well fed and ensured she was kept at a constant temperature with minimum disturbance from light or vibration. She was becoming very large so we knew she had a good chance of being gravid.