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(ASIA PACIFIC) TARANTULAS (Phlogiellus spp.)

(ASIA PACIFIC) TARANTULAS (Phlogiellus spp.) PHOTO CREDIT MARCO CHAN

Yes, amazingly we do have tarantula spiders in Hong Kong. Very cute small ones. They come under tarantula genus Phlogiellus first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1897. Actually, there are two species here (Phlogiellus xinping and Phlogiellus bogadeki), but the only way to tell them apart is to dissect them, and even then you would need to be able to examine the prolateral faces of the chelicerae, and confirm the presence/absence of intercheliceral thorns as the only way to distinguish them reliably. So let’s leave it to the experts, and at genus, eh?

CONTENT TAKEN FROM PAGE 266 OF THE HONG KONG BOOK OF BUGS The term "tarantula" covers a group of large, and often hairy spiders, but being super pedantic, technically speaking, spiders possess setae, not true hairs. The setae of insects are unicellular, meaning that each is formed from a single epidermal cell of a type called a trichogen, literally meaning "bristle generator". So they are bristles, not hairs. But, as laypeople, we can call them hairs to each other. Or bristly hairs, how about that? Like all other spiders, tarantulas have to shed their exoskeleton periodically to grow, with a young tarantula moulting several times, but this frequency lessens as they get older. SEE THEM Look for them under rocks and logs, and in their thick ground webs. FASCINATING FACTS: Pocock had an interesting career and after many years of study, he eventually was put in charge of the collections of Arachnida and Myriapoda at the Natural History Museum in London. There, he published 200 papers, including the description of c. 350 species of millipedes alone. He later became the superintendent of London Zoo, and his other claim to fame was when he described the leopon, which is the hybrid offspring of a male leopard and a female lion.



Compare this tiny chap above in Hong Kong to this stunning cobalt blue Tarantula that I found in Thailand a few weeks back.



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