SERIES: Invertebrate of the Week

Invertebrate of the Week #1: Cobalt Tarantula (Haplopelma lividum)

We’re a little late out of the gate today with Week #1 of our new “Invertebrate of the Week” series, but I hope it was worth the wait. This week, we’re showcasing the cobalt blue tarantula, Haplopelma lividum.

Haplopelma lividum tarantula spider on a rocky substrate
Haplopelma lividum spider on a hard substrate
Image by David Horvath | Wikimedia Commons
Domestic Haplopelma lividum cobalt blue tarantula spider in a terrarium
Domestic Haplopelma lividum cobalt blue tarantula in a terrarium
Licensed Image | All Rights Reserved

This dashing critter is a member of the Thetheraphosid sub-family Ornithoctoninae (the “Earth Tigers”) and is found in Southeast Asia, namely Myanmar and Thailand.  

It is a large terrestrial spider, reaching a leg span of around 5 inches, and is commonly found in deep burrows. In fact, you could even consider it a primarily fossorial animal since it usually only leaves the refuge of its burrow in order to find food.

The remarkable blue color is a structural color rather than a pigment, as further evidenced by its iridescence.

A spectacular invertebrate, this spider is apparently sometimes kept as a pet and is considered by arachnid enthusiasts to have “an erratic and wild disposition.”

References and Further Reading

  • Foelix, Rainer F., Bruno Erb, and David E. Hill. “Structural colors in spiders.Spider Ecophysiology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2013. 333-347.
  • Schultz, Stanley A. The Tarantula Keeper’s Guide: Comprehensive Information on Care, Housing, and Feeding. Barrons, 2009. ISBN 0764138855
  • Wolfgang Nentwig Universitat Bern, Spider Ecophysiology, Springer, 2013. ISBN 9783642339899