Baboon Spider, Pterinochilus murinus

The Baboon Spider (Pterinochilus murinus), an old-world tarantula, was initially described in 1897 by Reginald Innes Pocock. This species is found on the African continent, in Angola, as well as central, eastern, and southern Africa.

Among those who keep tarantulas as pets, Pterinochilus murinus is known as “OBT”, which means Orange Baboon Tarantula or Orange Bitey Thing, and also as the Pterror, a pun on its Latin genus classification: Pterinochilus. These nicknames are in reference to a particular orange color form that is prized in the hobby for its beauty and confrontational personality. It is known also as the Mombasa Golden Starburst Tarantula.

It is incredibly defensive and should not be held. The bite of this species, while not serious, is extremely painful. It is more than willing to inflict such a bite before presenting the typical threat display.

A female individual can grow to four to six inches in size, while the males usually range from three to four inches. The abdomen, carapace, and legs have the same basic coloration, though the legs typically have brightly colored rings. The carapace has a star shaped pattern, with a fishbone pattern featured on the abdomen. The eyes are clustered together on a raised part of the carapace. The body is covered with short hairs, with longer hair on the legs.

Currently, there are four color variants of this species. TCF is the Typical Color Form, UMV is the Usambara Mountain Variant, RCF is the Red Color Form and the DCF is the Dark Color Form.

These color variants are found in different geographical locations, and the coloration is assumed to be related to the type of soil present where each variant resides.

This spider can be found in Angola, as well as Central, Southern, and Eastern Africa. It has also been recorded on the island of Zanzibar.

Image Caption: Pterinochilus murinus, young, 10 months, body length 4cm. Credit: Galak76/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)