Collage of WonderLab experience photos

Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science

Chilean Rose Tarantula

TarantulaChilean Rose Tarantula
Grammostola rosea

The Chilean rose tarantula is a ground-dwelling spider that hatches from one of fifty to two thousand eggs deposited in a silken cocoon. As the tarantula grows, it periodically molts, or sheds, its exoskeleton, leaving behind what looks like a whole spider. Tarantulas will molt ten to fifteen times until they reach maturity in about ten years. At this point, a male will die during his next molt, but females can live for many more molts--up to thirty years. If you see the tarantula lying on her back, she is probably molting!

Habitat and Range
The Chilean rose tarantula lives in rocky, bushy, scrub desert areas of the northern Atacama Desert region of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.

Tarantulas are predators that mostly eat arthropods such as crickets but have also been known to eat larger prey such as small lizards, frogs, mice, and birds. Tarantulas eat by using their fangs to put venom into their prey to stop it from moving, spraying the food with digestive juices, mashing it with their fangs, and drinking the liquefied food. At WonderLab, the tarantula usually eats a cricket every week.

Behavior and Adaptations
Tarantulas do not build suspended webs but do produce silken threads that they weave into a mat on the ground. These ground webs can alert the tarantula of intruders or prey.  Tarantulas use their sensitive hairs to detect vibrations, chemical signals, heat, air movement, and possibly even sound.  Several tarantula species, including the Chilean rose, have urticating (irritating or inflaming) hairs on their abdomen that can be flicked or pushed into threatening animals and cause burning, swelling, and itchiness.