Tarantulas, like all things hairy, sometimes go bald. And for the Brazilian whiteknee tarantula (Acanthoscurria geniculata), baldness begins with the butt.
On Thursday (Aug. 6), entomologist Gwen Pearson tweeted a picture of what that looks like. Pearson and her associates at the Purdue Insect Zoo at Purdue University in Indiana just recently embraced the butt-nekkid arachnid from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which took the spider and hundreds of others from a black market family pet importer.
The pink-rumped spider (which zoo authorities named “Lil Kim” after the rap artist who has sported pink hair) does not owe its bare badonkadonk to age; according to Pearson, the specimen is less than 2 years old and might not reach the adult years until shes 5. Rather, Kims bald butt is the outcome of a natural tarantula defense reaction– and proof of the physical stress that illegal animal trafficking incurs.
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” Itchy butt hair is the primary defense for South American tarantulas, not biting,” Pearson informed Live Science in an e-mail. “And its SUPER itchy—- even worse than fiberglass. An inconvenience to humans, but very severe for other predators or little mice attempting to consume a tarantula.”
The eight-legged Lil Kim showed up at the zoo in a Tupperware container amply padded with paper towel to protect her fragile exoskeleton, the journey was anything but comfortable, Pearson said. Kim began nearly all of her butt hair in transit, proving the spider was under incredible tension.
Removing spiders from the wild likewise worries the environment, Pearson included, and has actually been connected to types decline– partially because it takes the arachnids so long to mature. Regardless of this, tarantulas are one of the most trafficked animals in the world, Kelli Walker, senior keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ohio informed the Cincinnati Enquirer. (That zoo recently embraced eight spiders from the exact same smuggled shipment for their collection.).
Kim, in all her bald-butted magnificence. (Image credit: Gwen Pearson).
Back at Purdue, Kim will be part of an effort to reproduce captive tarantulas to help in reducing the stress on wild populations. And luckily, Lil Kim can count on her butt hairs to grow back soon– however, shell need to grow an entire brand-new layer of skin while doing so, Pearson said.
” The only way [tarantulas] can change the hair is to totally change their whole exoskeleton,” Pearson discussed. “Its not hair like ours; each hair is a thin extension of their tough external shell.”.
Immature tarantulas like Lil Kim molt their exoskeletons every few months. It might take the arachnid a little additional time to settle into her brand-new environment at the zoo before she can begin molting, Pearson said, however Kims butt might be gloriously hirsute once again by Thanksgiving. And for that, we can all be glad.
Originally published on Live Science.
” Itchy butt hair is the main defense for South American tarantulas, not biting,” Pearson told Live Science in an e-mail. An inconvenience to humans, but really serious for little mice or other predators trying to eat a tarantula.”
Despite this, tarantulas are one of the most trafficked animals in the world, Kelli Walker, senior keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ohio informed the Cincinnati Enquirer. Immature tarantulas like Lil Kim molt their exoskeletons every few months. It may take the arachnid a little additional time to settle into her brand-new environment at the zoo before she can start molting, Pearson stated, but Kims butt might be gloriously hirsute again by Thanksgiving.