Poecilotheria Metallica (Gooty Sapphire Ornamental) Care Sheet

Poecilotheria metallica is still one of the most sought after species in the tarantula community, due to their stunning colouration, size, and patterns.

Reginald Innes Pocock initially discovered them in 1899 in Gooty, but then was never seen in that area after. It was only after their re-appearance in Andhra Pradesh that it was confirmed that Gooty was not their natural habitat and that the original sighting was an accidental discovery, although Gooty is still linked to their common name.

Description

Just like all other Poecilotherias, the metallica shares the same intricate patterns, slender body and long legs, although blue in colour, with hints of yellow on their legs. In slings, the colour is less prominent, yet as they grow, it becomes more visible. Colour isn’t as chromatic in males as it is in females, yet as a female metallica matures, the colour fades.

When at their full size, Poecilotheria metallica can reach up to 8 inches.

Common names

  • Gooty Ornamental
  • Sapphire Blue Ornamental
  • Peacock Parachute Spider
  • Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tree Spider

Scientific classification

Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Poecilotheria
Species: Metallica
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Conservation status: Critically Endangered (IUCN 3.1)

Location and availability

Poecilotheria metallicas are found in the Andhra Pradesh forest, in central southern India. Although the first finding was in a railway yard in Gooty, it is believed that it had ended up there by complete accident. Their natural habitat is less than 100 square kilometres, and due to the popularity of the species, and the rapid reduction in its natural habitat, the metallica is currently on the critically endangered list with no exports allowed.

However, they are captive bred amongst many tarantula hobbyists, which has resulted in them being readily available at a slightly higher price than most Poecilotherias.

Lifespan

Like most Poecilotherias, you can expect a healthy female to live to around 12 years and males up to 4 years.

Husbandry

Poecilotherias are arboreal tarantulas, so naturally, they are found in deciduous tropical forests, hiding in trees and crevices during daylight, and becoming more active at night due to them being photosensitive. In captivity, they are kept in temperatures between 18 to 24 °C with a humidity level of 75 to 85%.

Ensuring you have a tall enclosure, with a vertical cork bark hide so they can tunnel web, a water dish, proper ventilation, and kept at the correct temperature and humidity is a must in the keeping of this species. For slings, it’s advised that they are kept on a moist substrate, with enough room to burrow as most sling will prefer to do so, as well as the option to climb.

As these species are incredibly fast, and experts at hiding, it’s essential for you to have a tall enclosure, that is easily accessible with locking doors. Not only will this make it easier for you to carry out maintenance, but it will also reduce the risk of any accidental escapes. Unlike many species, they can be kept communally, although it is recommended that you separate them once they mature.

Temperament

The Poecilotheria genus is known for having potent venom, with nasty side effects as well as being incredibly fast; although all of these things are true, they do tend to prefer to flee, rather than stand their ground. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect this tarantula, as each one will have its own personality and moods, and you should always be alert when having to carry out maintenance and rehousing.

And remember, that if it is provoked, it does have the capability to deliver a very nasty bite.

Eating Habits

As a sling, you should feed your P. metallica Drosophila hydei, small roaches or a pinhead once a week. Once they have matured to a juvenile, you can introduce mealworms, larger crickets and roaches.

As Poecilotheria metallicas are photosensitive, you may find that they are very shy eaters, especially when young. If you are unable to get your tarantula to take down their prey, leave it overnight. If it has been untouched, remove it straight away, as some prey items can nibble and irritate your tarantula when it’s vulnerable, i.e. when moulting.

Growth rate

If feed often, had low-level stress and kept at the correct temperature and humidity, P.metallicas can mature within 14 months. If kept at a lower temperature and fed less often, it can take up to three years to reach maturity.

Summary

As a whole, Poecilotheria metallics are one of the most unique and captivating species. Their quirks make them a vital addition to any experienced keepers collection.

If you’re after a tarantula that is always on display and gives you incredible feeding reactions, then this isn’t the species for you, but if you’re happy to observe from afar and respect their natural habitat requirements, then we highly recommend buying yourself one from a respectable breeder.

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