Mexican Fireleg, Brachypelma boehmei

The Mexican Fireleg (Brachypelma beohmei), known also as the Mexican Rustleg Tarantula, is a tarantula that is native to Mexico in Guerrero state.

These spiders prefer semi-humid climates and are obligate terrestrial burrowers. As with all closely related tarantula species, they defend themselves with their urticating hairs when they are provoked. They’re not the easiest species to keep in captivity and should only be considered as a pet once comfortable with keeping other species.

This spider looks much like its better known relative, the Mexican Redknee Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) in its dramatic orange and black coloration. Though the adults of the species range from 5 to 6 inches in size, this species of tarantula has a slower growth rate than many of the larger South American tarantula species. The black femora, or upper legs, provide a dark dividing band between the rich orange color of the carapace and the lower legs. Unlike the orange colored joints of Brachypelma smithi, the beautifully colored legs of this species are a bright fiery red on the patellae, or knees, that fades gradually to a paler orange further down and tipped by black tarsi, or feet. Though not especially defensive, this species of spider can have a nervous temperament, where it will flick its urticating hairs when it feels threatened.

It is native to Mexico where it can be found along the central Pacific coast in western Guerrero State, where it shows a preference for dry scrubland, and is found in burrows, either self-made or abandoned rodent or lizard burrows, normally under rocks or fallen logs.

The spiders of this species are long-lived, with the males reaching maturity at seven to eight years and the females at nine to ten years. While the males only live up to a year following their final molt, the females may live for a further ten years. Sub-adults and adults molt at the end of the dry season from November to June, after which the males begin their search for mating females. The mating, time spent gravid and the egg sac is laid following the females molt. If the female molts before laying the sac, the eggs and sperm are lost with the molt. If the egg sac is successful, it will usually hatch three to four weeks before the rainy season begins. These tarantulas tend to be active after dark, but can also be active during the day, especially in the morning.

Image Caption: Brachypelma boehmei, adult, female. Credit: Viki/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)