Very little is known about Montserrat Tarantulas, so it was a big deal to spider enthusiasts when a few females of the species successfully bred offspring in captivity. The baby spiders have never been observed before in the wild or in captivity.
Getting the females to mate with the males was the most difficult task to accomplish. Since 2013 researchers have been struggling to make the female bare offspring. The biggest difficulty is preventing the female from eating the male before mating. The females also live much longer and mature much more slowly than their male counterparts so timing is also a challenge. The males would try and lure the females into mating by drumming out a tune on the female’s web. Once the females were done with the males, usually indicated by eating the males, the females would burrow into dirt and would not come out for months, so the researchers could only hope that they were also pregnant. After a few months the first ever seen baby montserrat tarantulas popped up from beneath the soil.
For the first time scientists are able to observe the life cycle of this type of spider. This is a big deal because all that was known about this spider before came from one scientist’s observations in the wild from one hundred years ago. Hopefully this spider will turn out to have some interesting attributes instead of being just another ugly tarantula.
What factors would make breeding in captivity more difficult for scientists to induce than breeding in the wild?