Tarantulas are hairy spider kind of creatures recognized for their intimidating look and distinguishing characteristics. They are found all over the world in various habitats, having an eccentric appearance and well-defined features. These species, even though tiny looking, have eight legs and fangs that inject venom, making them deadly creatures. Their staple prey consists of insects and small animals.
Tarantulas are often kept as exotic pets, and they play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance by consuming insects and balancing their population. Tarantulas are divided into two broad categories: the old-world tarantulas and the new-world tarantulas. This classification is widely based on the geographical region these insects belong to. For more information, read the below article and discover the unique characteristics of these distinct species.
Classifications based on Geographical Regions
The main difference between Old World and New World tarantulas is their geographical origin. Old World tarantulas live in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia, whereas New World tarantulas live in North, Central, and South America. Because of this physical separation, each group has developed distinct characteristics and habits.
Classification based on Physical Characteristics
One distinguishing trait of New World tarantulas is the presence of urticating hairs, which are missing in their Old World counterparts. When discharged into the air or brushed against a possible threat, these unique hairs act as a defensive mechanism, producing discomfort. Because they lack urticating hairs, Old World tarantulas frequently rely on their strong venom for protection.
Classification based on Venom Composition
When it comes to venom, there are distinctions between Old World and New World tarantulas. In general, Old World tarantulas have more powerful venom than New World species. Old World Tarantula venom contains neurotoxins that damage the nervous system, but New World Tarantula venom may contain a combination of neurotoxins and cytotoxins that impact cells at the bite site.
Classification based on Variances of their Behavior
Old World and New World tarantulas differ in their behavior as well. Old World tarantulas are known for their aggressive behavior and may be more violent when threatened. Some animals have complex burrowing activities, building elaborate silk-lined shelters. New World tarantulas, on the other hand, are frequently thought to be more docile, with some species relying on silk to line their tunnels or weave huge webs for hunting.
Classification based on Habitat and Adaptations
The habits and traits of Old World and New World tarantulas have been modified by adaptations to their various environments. Temperature changes may occur in Old World tarantulas that live in places with different seasons. As a result, many have developed thicker exoskeletons to cope with these changes. Tarantulas from the New World, which live in more stable conditions, may not have the same degree of exoskeletal thickness.
Classification based on Reproduction
Reproductive techniques differ between the two populations. Tarantulas from the Old World normally lay their eggs in silk sacs and defend them until the spiderlings hatch. New World tarantulas, on the other hand, may transport their egg sacs, with some species demonstrating complex maternal care, carrying the sac until the spiderlings are ready to disperse.
Some Examples of Old World and New World Tarantulas
The Indian Ornamental (Poecilotheria Regalis) and the Gooty Sapphire Ornamental (Poecilotheria metallica) are two Old World tarantulas. These species are distinguished by their brilliant colors, elaborate patterns, and frequently aggressive behavior. Chilean Rose Hair (Grammostola rosea) and Mexican Redknee (Brachypelma Smithi) tarantulas are popular as pets because of their typically placid nature. Below are some of the species from the Tarantula family.
Pelinobius Muticus(King Baboon Spider)
It is the sole species of the tarantula genus Pelinobus from East Africa. It is a terrestrial spider that lives in grasslands and shrublands in Kenya, Tanzania, and other East African countries. Pelinobius Muticus has an eye-catching orange or copper-brown coloration. They are bigger than other Old World tarantula species, making them more difficult to care for and reproduce. They feed on other spiders, cockroaches, and beetles, and they sense the movement of their prey by producing a silk web at the entrance to their tunnels.
Poecilotheria Ornata(Fringed Ornament Spider)
Source: Adobe Stock
Fringed Ornament Spider are Sri Lankan arboreal tarantulas. They are the second biggest tarantulas in the Old World. Aside from their gigantic size, they also administer devastating poisonous bites. Another name for this species is the ornate tiger spider, which refers to its tiger-like leg color and stripes. They are excellent show pets because of their vibrant design and lovely stripes.
Poecilotheria Metallica(Gooty Sapphire Tarantula)
With its metallic blue hue speckled with yellow and black, this is one of the most beautiful tarantula species in the world. It is an arboreal tarantula from India. Although their beauty makes them excellent exhibition spiders, they are aggressive and deadly, making them difficult to raise.
Pterinochilus Murinus(Orange Baboon Tarantula)
Source: Exotic Spiders
Pterinochilus murinus is a member of the baboon spider genus and one of its most gorgeous members. It is available in a limited number of hues, with the orange being the most noticeable. They are arboreal spiders with terrestrial inclinations. They are extremely swift, aggressive, and defensive. As a result, they are only suggested for experienced tarantula handlers.
Haplopelma Minax(Thailand Black Tarantula)
Thailand is home to this jet-black tarantula. It is a burrowing, terrestrial tarantula that spends much of its time in caves. They are quick and aggressive, like many Old World tarantulas. They have eight eyes but poor eyesight. To catch prey, this spider weaves a web near its home and may detect the presence of prey by vibrating the silk.
Chilobrachys Fimbriatus(Indian Violet Tarantula)
These are violet-colored burrowing native Indian tarantulas. Because of their attractiveness, they are quite popular with intermediate keepers. Chilobrachys Fimbriatus possesses a strong venom and is fairly protective. They are heavy webbers known for creating fascinating web architectures.
The differences between Old World and New World tarantulas go beyond their geographical distribution. In reaction to their habitats, these arachnids have evolved distinct adaptations that shape their physical traits, habits, and survival tactics. Understanding these variances, whether kept as exotic pets or viewed in their natural environments, increases our appreciation for the variety within the intriguing world of tarantulas.