200 Creepy Montserrat Tarantulas Born in Captivity for the First Time in UK
It might sound strange, but there is a reason to celebrate the hatching of about 200 hundred hairy brown Montserrat tarantulas in Chester Zoo, U.K. The birth of this clutch marks the first time the species has been bred in captivity.
According to a report from BBC, this creepy crawly insect is a rare spider breed that is only found in a single Caribbean island called Montserrat. A zookeeper observed them in their habitat several times, then brought a dozen of them to Chester Zoo for further studies back in 2013.
Now, one of the females has given birth to about 200 of the Montserrat tarantulas. Coordination between the cycles of the different spiders proved to be a challenge, according to the zoo's curator of lower vertebrates Dr. Gerardo Garcia. After all, the males of the species only live for around two and a half years, but females live longer and develop gradually.
"It's kind of a race against time," Garcia explained in the BBC report. "Whether you can synchronize the sexual maturity between individuals."
The scientists knew there was a danger in pairing up the males and females, not only because the former is rarer but also because the females could attack, as Garcia pointed out.
Their efforts eventually proved to be a success as hundreds of spiderlings popped up from the burrows. And because of the monumental task, it took to produce the clutch, the little insects are being looked after carefully in Chester Zoo.
He concluded in a report from Telegraph, ""It's successes like this which really highlight the work that zoos are doing behind-the-scenes to conserve a range of endangered species, including the smaller, less known species that contribute to the world's biodiversity. Importantly, the skills and techniques the team has developed with this new breeding success will now be transferred to other threatened species."